Living Experiences of Male Spouses of Patients with Metastatic Cancer in Taiwan


Background: Cancer is the leading cause of death in Taiwan. Spouses are generally the main caregivers ofaffectyed patients but previous studies have seldom investigated the needs of male spouses of patients withmetastatic cancer. Purpose: To explore the lived experiences of such male spouses.
Methods: A qualitative designusing in-depth interviewswasconducted with male spouses of patients with metastatic cancer being treated at theoncology outpatient department in a teaching hospital in northern Taiwan.
Results: Nine participants aged 31-78were interviewed. Content analysis of the interviews revealed five themes: suffering and struggling, difficulty infocusing on communication and interaction, shouldering responsibility, cherishing the love between husbandand wife, and enabling each other to live better. This study demonstrated how male spousse experienced physicaland psychological suffering when their wives suffered from metastatic cancer. They had to bear the pain of theirwife’s suffering, and also had to shoulder the responsibility for everything. All their efforts were put towardsenabling each other to live a better life. They cherished the rest of the time they could spend with their wives,even though they had to live a hard life. As the male spouses of patients with metastatic cancer, the participantsexhibited both the masculinity of men and the ability to express care and tenderness.
Conclusions: The resultsshowed that male spouses need more attention in terms of communication and bearing with suffering. Healthcare professionals should more actively understand the needs and provide assistance when facing the male spouseof patients with cancer, so as make sure that they possess the ability to take care of their wives. Health careprofessionals should also assist and properly act as a bridge of communication between husbands and wives.