New research on prostate cancer, Black men, recorded music/song choices and psychosocial impact of treatment

This week, our blog features a guest post by Alphonso Archer, a Music Therapy Master’s student at the University of West England, who is researching how Black men use music/song choices to process the impact of their treatment for prostate cancer.

How are Black men adversely affected by prostate cancer?

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, evidence shows significant ethnic variations in the prevalence and outcomes of this type of cancer, with Black men four times more likely to contract advanced prostate cancer than White men.

Despite living 5-10 years longer, modern treatment has led to side effects such as sexual/erectile problems, incontinence issues, pain, fatigue, and “menopause-like feelings.” Such side effects affect the ability to perform daily activities, impacting psychosocial well-being and quality of life. Recent research found that African-Caribbean men struggle with side effects linked to socially constructed ideas of masculinity; in addition, participants linked erectile dysfunction with stereotypes of Black male sexuality, particularly in relation to difficulties expressing their emotions and psychological distress.

What is the research and why is it important?

Alphonso Archer is a Music Therapy Master’s candidate from the School of Health and Social Wellbeing, at the University of the West of England, Bristol. His mission is to help Black men who have completed treatment for prostate cancer maintain their psychosocial wellbeing with the use of music.

Several research studies have reported using songs to address coping, withdrawal, expression, anxiety, fear, anguish, confusion, boredom, loneliness, and search for meaning in those who had cancer. Additionally, music is a cultural resource individuals draw on for their construction of self. This includes the emotional, memory, and biographical work they do to learn about themselves, their environment, and their social relationships – personal aspects that are imperative to attend to after traumatic experiences like cancer.

Alphonso’s project aims to show how music can be effective for Black men in helping to cope with the psychological distress associated with prostate cancer treatments and the development of alternate forms of support that focus on quality of life through leisure activities like music-making.

How can I help this project?

Alphonso is conducting an online, semi-structured interview, exploring how Black men use recorded music/song choices to cope with prostate cancer post treatment. The interview takes approximately 60 minutes.



If I participate, what can I expect? What about my privacy?

If you decide to participate, you will be asked to answer some questions around topics such as your prostate cancer treatment, how it made you feel and hope you coped. The interview takes place entirely online, so you can participate from the comfort of your own home. It will take just a single session around 60 minutes. Also, if you decide that you no longer want to participate in the interview, you will be able to stop at any time without having to give a reason. Your identity will be always anonymous.



Will I hear back from the researcher once the study is finished?

Yes! Alphonso will share the results with you once the study is finished.



Who can I contact for more information?

You can get in touch with the lead researcher directly:
Alphonso Archer, Music Therapy Master’s postgraduate candidate
email: [email protected]
The School of Health and Social Wellbeing, Glenside Campus, University of the West of England, BS16 1DD, Bristol (UK)



If you would like to participate or learn more about the study, please follow this link

If you are a researcher and would like to share news about your prostate cancer study, please email a short outline of your work and proof of ethics approval to [email protected]

Alphonso does not receive funding from PCR. We decided to feature his research on the PCR website because we felt it was an important topic, with the potential to improve quality of life for Black men with prostate cancer. We also looked at an outline of the study and confirmed he had ethics approval before deciding to help promote his work.

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