Cancer-related self-perception in men affected by prostate cancer after radical prostatectomy

Matthias Jahnen, Luisa Lehner, Valentin H. Meissner, Andreas Dinkel, Stefan Schiele, Helga Schulwitz, Jürgen E. Gschwend, Kathleen Herkommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify factors associated with cancer-related self-perception after being affected by prostate cancer (PCa) and radical prostatectomy. Subjects and methods: Men affected by PCa and radical prostatectomy were asked to choose one of 5 cancer-related identities (“patient,” “victim,” “someone who has had cancer,” “cancer survivor,” and “cancer conqueror”). Associations with clinical data, functional outcome (continence and sexual activity), and psychological factors were assessed. Results: One thousand seven hundred seventy-two men were included. Most men perceived themselves as “someone who has had cancer” (46.8%) which was associated with no cancer recurrence (OR: 0.54 [0.36–0.81]) and low cancer-related distress (OR: 0.69 [0.53–0.89]) or “patient” (35.4%) which was associated with ongoing therapy (OR: 2.59 [1.59–4.22]) and biochemical disease recurrence (OR: 1.91 [1.28–2.85]). Self-perception, as “cancer survivor” (7.8%), “cancer conqueror” (8.2%), or “victim” (1.8%), was less common. “Cancer survivor” was associated with high perceived disease severity (OR: 2.07 [1.33–3.24]) and incontinence (1.99 [1.27–3.12]). “Cancer survivor” and “cancer conqueror” were related to high benefit finding (OR: 2.05 [1.30–3.23], OR: 1.89 [1.27–2.81], respectively); only “cancer conqueror” was associated with higher quality of life (OR: 1.38 [1.21–1.58]). Conclusions: Self-perception in men affected by PCa can vary widely and is associated with distinct characteristics that reflect the experienced severity of the disease, therapy side effects, and psychological well-being. Implications for Cancer Survivors: The assessment of cancer-related self-perception can give important insights when evaluating men affected by PCa who need assistance in coping with their disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer survivors
  • Cancer-related identity
  • Prostate cancer
  • Radical prostatectomy
  • Self-perception
  • Survivorship


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