Psychology, Interamerican
El cáncer prostático en la experiencia de pareja: La mujer como guardiana de la salud

How to Cite

Berríos, R., & Rivero Vergne, A. (2016). El cáncer prostático en la experiencia de pareja: La mujer como guardiana de la salud. Revista Interamericana De Psicología/Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 49(3).


Prostate cancer has increased considerably among Puerto Rican men. If detected on time the probability of surviving this condition is high.  However, lack of knowledge about this topic is prevalent among the Puerto Rican population. Research about the experiences of women has been limited even though they play an important role in sustaining their spouses’ well-being during their illness. Using a phenomenological approach in depth interviews were conducted with 10 couples to explore the experience of surviving prostate cancer. In this article findings directly associated with the category: The woman as a guardian of health are presented, including the woman as primary caregiver, attitude towards sexuality, and responsibility for treatment success and for the process of dealing with secondary effects.


American Cancer Society. (2014). Cancer facts and figures. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society.

American Counseling Association (2014). ACA Code of Ethics. Recuperado de

American Psychological Association, (2010). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (with the 2010 amendments). Recuperado de http://www.

Arranz-Lara, L., Martínez Lemus, H., Ruiz Ornelas, J., Suuceda González, L., Pimentel, E., Anguiano, N., … Moreno, D. (2010). Estudio fenomenológico de mujeres estériles con obesidad. Gnecol Obstet Mex, 78(10), 547-552.

Arrington, M. I. (2005). “She’s right behind me all the way”: An analysis of prostate cancer narratives and changes in family relationships. The Journal of Family Communications, 5(2), 141-162. doi:10.1207/s15327698jfc0502_5

Betancourt Sanjurjo, M., Rodríguez del Toro, V., & Crespo Fernández, L. (2012). Roles de género, conductas y significado de la experiencia en la relación de pareja de mujeres que ha convivido con hombres con la condición de alcoholismo en Puerto Rico. Revista Puertorriqueña de Psicología, 23, 139-162.

Blank, T. O. (2008). The challenge of prostate cancer: ‘Half a man or a man and a half’. Generations, 32(1), 68-72.

Boehmer, U., & Clark, J. A. (2001). Communication about prostate cancer between men and their wives. The Journal of Family Practice, 50(3), 226-231.

Brad, H., & Carmack Taylor, C. L. (2009). Sexual dysfunction and spousal communication in couples coping with prostate cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 18, 735-746. doi: 10.1002/pon.1449

Centro Comprensivo de Cáncer de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. (2012). Registro Central de Cáncer de Puerto Rico. Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Código de Ética de la Asociación de Psicólogos de Puerto Rico. (2007). Recuperado de investigacion/775/deontologia.htm

Dávila Vázquez, M. (2010). Perspectivas de las madres con hijas anoréxicas: un estudio fenomenológico. Disertación doctoral inédita, Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, Recinto Metropolitano, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Davison, J., Oliffe, J. L., Pickles, T., & Mroz, L. (2009). Factors influencing men undertaking active surveillance for the management of low-risk prostate cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 36(1), 89-96. doi: 10.1188/09.ONF.89-96

Dean, J., Rubio-Aurioles, E., McCabe, M., Eardley, M., Speakman, M., Buvat, J., …Fisher, W. (2008). Integrating partners into erectile dysfunction treatment: Improving the sexual experience for the couple. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 62(1), 127-133. doi: 10.1111/j.1742- 1241.2007.01636.x

Departamento de Salud de Puerto Rico. (2008). Boletín del Registro de Cáncer. Registro Central de Cáncer de Puerto Rico, 1(3), 1-7.

Departamento de Salud de Puerto Rico. (2013). Incidencia de cáncer en Puerto Rico. Registro Central de Cáncer de Puerto Rico, 1(2), 1-4.

Evertsen, J. M., & Wolkenstein, A. S. (2010). Female partners of patients after surgical prostate cancer treatment: Interactions with physicians and support needs. BMC Family Practice, 11, 19. doi: 10-1186/1471-2296-11-19. Recuperado de

Ezer, H., Ricard, N., Bouchard, L., Souhami, L., Saad, F., Aprikian, A., & Taguchi, Y. (2006). Adaptation of wives to prostate cancer following diagnosis and 3 months after treatment: A test of family adaptation theory. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 43, 827-838. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.05.004

Ezer, H., Rigol Chachamovich, L., & Chachamovich, E. (2011). Do men and their wives see I the same way? Congruence with couples during the first year of prostate cancer. Psycho- Oncology, 20, 155-164. doi: 10.1002/pon.1724

Galbraith, M. E., Arechiga, A., Ramirez, J., & Pedro, L. W. (2005). Prostate cancer survivors’ and partners’ self-reports of health-related quality of life, treatment symptoms, and marital satisfaction 2.5-5.5 years after treatment. Oncology Nursing Forum, 32(2), E30-E41. doi: 10.1188/05.ONF.E30-E41

Gilbert, E., Ussher, J. M., & Perz, J. (2010). Renegotiating sexuality and intimacy in the context of cancer: The experiences of carers. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(4), 998-1009. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9416-z

Giorgi, A., & Giorgi, B. (2003). Phenomenology. En J. A. Smith (Ed.), Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods (pp. 25-50). London: Sage.

Gray, R. E., Fitch, M. I., Phillips, C., Labrecque, M., & Klotz, L. (1999). Presurgery experience cancer patients and their spouses. Cancer Practice, 7, 130-135. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5394.1999.07308.x

Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1981). Effective evaluation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Harden, J. K., Northouse, L. L., & Mood, D. W. (2006). Qualitative analysis of couples’ experience with prostate cancer by age cohort. Cancer Nursing, 29(5), 367-377.

Harden, J., Schafenacker, A., Northouse, L., Mood, D., Smith, D., Pienta, K., …Baranoswki, K. (2002). Couples’ experiences with prostate cancer: Focus group research. Oncology Nursing Forum, 29(4), 701-709. doi: 10.1188/02.ONF.701-709

Herrera, A. (2003). Sexualidad en la vejez: ¿Mito o realidad? Revista Chilena de Obstreticia y Ginecología, 68(2), 150-162.

Husserl, E. (1981). Pure phenomenology, its methdos and its fields investigation (R. W. Jordan, Trad.). En P. McCormick & F. Elliston (Eds.), Husserl: Shorter works (pp. 9-17). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. (Trabajo original publicado en 1917).

Informe presentado por el Ministerio de Salud y Política Social del Gobierno Español. (2009). España: eSeCé Servicios Integrales.

Instituto Nacional de Cáncer. (2010). Hoja informativa del Instituto Nacional de Cáncer. Recuperado de

Klaeson, K., Sanadell, K., & Berterö, C. M. (2012). Sexuality in the context of prostate cancer narratives. Qualitative Health Research, 22(9), 1184-1194. doi: 10.1177/1049732312449208

Lozada Vélez, M. (2008). Perspectiva masculina en la recuperación emocional de las pacientes con cáncer de seno. Disertación doctoral inédita, Universidad Interamericana, Recinto Metropolitano, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Malcarne, V. L., Banthia, R., Varni, J. W., Sadler, G. R., Greenbergs, H. L., & Ko, C. M. (2002). Problem-solving skills and emotional distress in spouses of men with prostate cancer. Journal of Cancer Education, 17, 150-154. doi:10.1080/08858190209528823

Maliski, S. L., Rivera, S., Connor, S., Lopez, G., & Litwin, M. S. (2008). Renegotiating masculine identity after prostate cancer treatment. Qualitative Health Research, 18(12), 1609-1620. doi: 10.1177/1049732308326813

Manne, S. L., Kissane, D. W., Nelson, C. J., Mulhall, J. P., Winkel, G., & Zaider, T. (2011). Intimacy- enhancing psychological intervention for men diagnosed with prostate cancer and their partners: A pilot study. J Sex Med, 8, 1197-1209. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02163.x

Mayes, J. M., Mouraviev, V., Tsivian, M., Krupski, T. L., Donatucci, C. F., & Polascik, T. J. (2009). Concordance in the perception of couples recovering from primary surgical treatment of prostate cancer. International Journal of Impotence Research, 21, 253-260. doi: 10.1038/ijir.2009.23

Nanton, V., Osborne, D., & Dale, J. (2010). Maintaining control over illness: A model of partner activity in prostate cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care, 19, 329-339. doi: 10.1111/j.1365- 2354.2008.01047.x

O’Shaughnessy, P. K., Ireland, C., Palentsov, L., Thomas, L. A., & Esterman, A. J. (2013). Impaired sexual function and prostate cancer: A mixed method investigation into the experiences of men and their partners. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22(23-24), 3492-3502. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12190

Paley, J. (1997). Husserl, phenomenology and nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26, 187-193.

Rivero Vergne, A. (1996). El impacto del diagnóstico de VIH positivo en el proceso de toma de decisiones sobre su rol de madres en un grupo de mujeres puertorriqueñas. Ponencia a la Facultad del Recinto Metropolitano de la Universidad Interamericana en el XXV Congreso Latinoamericano de Psicología (pp. 75-86).

Rivero Vergne, A., Berrios, R., & Romero, I. (2008). Cultural aspects of the Puerto Rican cancer experience: The mother as the main protagonist. Qualitative Health Research, 18(6), 811-820. doi: 10.1177/1049732308318505

Rodríguez del Toro, V., & Padilla Díaz, M. (2009). Las prácticas de equidad en un grupo de parejas heterosexuales en Puerto Rico. Revista Interamericana de Psicología, 43(1), 84-90.

Rodríguez Loyola, Y., & Costas Muñiz, R. (2013). El diagnóstico de cáncer de mamas desde una perspectiva familiar: retos para la psico-oncología en América Latina. Revista Interamericana de Psicología, 47(1), 121-130.

Rosa Rodríguez, Y., & Toro Alfonso, J. (2011). Resistencia al sexo: cultura y personalidad. Revista Interamericana de Psicología, 45(1), 3-9.

Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (2005). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (2012). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data (3rd ed.). London: Sage.

Sanders, S., Pedro, L. W., O’Carroll Bantum, E., & Galbraith, M. E. (2006). Couple surviving prostate cancer: Long-term intimacy needs and concerns. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 10(4), 503-508.

Schumacher, L. A. (2010). The caregiver’s journey: A phenomenological study of the life experience of leisure for caregivers in the sandwich generation who care for a parents with dementia (Thesis, University of Iowa). Recuperado de

Song, L. (2009). Couples communication and quality of life during prostate cancer survivorship. Unpublished Dissertation, The University of Michigan, Michigan.

Tofani, A. C. A., & Vaz, C. E. (2007). Câncer de próstata, sentimento de impotência e fracassos ante os Cartões IV e VI do Rorschach. Revista Interamericana de Psicología, 41(2), 197-204.

Tuttle, H. V. (2012). The lived experiences of faculty who use instructional technolgy: A phenomenologucal study. (Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Recuperado de

United States Census Bureau. (2013). Recuperado de 5YR_S0101&proudType=table

United States Census Bureau. (2014). Recuperado de

Villamil, B. (2003). La construcción del rol de la mujer en Puerto Rico: tres perspectivas generacionales. Hómines, 23, 15-33.

Williams, K. C., Hicks, E. M., Chang, N., Connor, S. E., & Maliski, S. L. (2014). Purposeful normalization when caring for husbands recovering from prostate cancer. Qualitative Health Research, 24(3), 306-316.doi: 10.1177/1049732314523842

Wittmann, D., Northouse, L., Foley, S., Gilbert, S., Wood, D. P. Jr., Balon, R., & Montie, E. (2009). The psychosocial aspects of sexual recovery after prostate cancer treatment. International Journal of Impotence Research, 21, 99-106. doi: 10.1038/ijir.2008.66

Zack Ishikawa, R., Cardemil, E. V., & Joffe Falmagne, R. (2010). Help seeking and help receiving for emotional distress among Latino men and women. Qualitative Health Research, 20(11), 1558-1572. doi: 10.1177/1049732310369140

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work [SPECIFY PERIOD OF TIME] after publication simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgment of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).