Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 1625–1631 | Cite as

Developing peer support in film for cancer self-management: what do men want other men to know?

  • J. Cockle-Hearne
  • D. Cooke
  • S. Faithfull
Original Article



This study reports an innovative theory-driven approach for developing filmed peer support for cancer self-management. Peer support conventionally includes empathetic interaction between people with shared experiences. This unique study considers how to authentically communicate peer empathy in a one-way film narrative.


We co-created a film based on phenomenological interviews with seven men who had volunteered to support other men by sharing their experiences of coping with prostate cancer. The film contributed to successful engagement with self-management. Interpretative phenomenological analysis of the interview data was conducted to explore the components of experiential empathy that the men had communicated.


Four themes were identified illustrating what men wanted other men to know about coping with prostate cancer: Going into the unknown, it was difficult but I got through highlighted trauma and the importance of having a determined attitude; Only you can do it illustrated the triumph of their journey and of regaining control; I haven’t changed massively reflected the importance of a constant self; and Stay involved represented the overriding need to remain part of pre-cancer social environments.


We propose a construct framework of experiential empathy for men with prostate cancer: Resilience, Regaining Control, Continuity-of-Self, and Social Connectedness. Filmed peer support that communicates these constructs will offer wide-ranging benefit to meet the needs of this group of men in both e-health and face-to-face self-management contexts. Further research could develop this theory-driven approach to filmed peer support for other cancer groups.


Peer support Prostate cancer Coping Empathy Self-management E-health 



We would like to thank the men who participated in this study for their time and commitment. The study was funded by a grant from Dimbleby Cancer Care. A favourable ethical opinion for the study was received from the NHS Ethics Committee Reference 09/H1109/94.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health SciencesUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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