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Sexual Health

During the screening phase, some men have concerns relating to the digital rectal exam affecting their sexuality and sexual health. This is a common concern that can be discussed with members of the Walnut Warriors support group.

For those who have undergone treatment, one’s sexual activity and libido are often affected throughout the prostate cancer journey. Men with prostate cancer may feel that a change in their sexual ability demeans their masculinity or relationship with their partners, and choose to avoid or keep silent about their thoughts. 

However, it is important to involve your partner and other trusted professionals to improve your sexual health and relationships. Seeking the opinion of a counsellor or sex therapist can help walk couples through methods to ensure intimacy and provide a supportive environment for one’s feelings and experiences, especially if experiencing erectile dysfunction.

Discussion with your partner/spouse

Some research of the female partners of men with prostate cancer show they want to be involved in a man’s care journey but often feel excluded if they refuse to talk about it. Many spouses are open to talking about sex and intimacy but often don’t initiate the conversation in order to be sensitive. Spouses are a strong relational and emotional support and often including them strengthens the relationship (Bamidele et al., 2019) Starting a conversation with your spouse may be enough to open up the invitation to talk about it.

Gay and Bisexual Men

Some research shows that gay and bisexual men may not receive early screening for fear of discrimination or negative experiences with the healthcare system. However, it is important to have early screening for prostate cancer because it significantly increases one’s survival rate. Late detection and late-stage prostate cancer significantly reduces one’s treatment options and survival rate.

Trans Women

Trans-women (biologically male but identify as female) still have a prostate and are at risk for prostate cancer. The same risk factors, screening methods and treatments still apply for trans-women. 

If you identify as gay, bisexual, or as a trans-woman and of Black or African/Caribbean descent, ≥  40 years old, or have other Risk Factors please see: 

Source: Bamidele, O., Lagan, B. M., McGarvey, H., Wittmann, D., & McCaughan, E. (2018). “…It might not have occurred to my husband that this WOMAN, his wife who is taking care of him has some emotional needs AS WELL…”: The unheard voices of partners of Black African and Black Caribbean men with prostate cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer, 27(3), 1089-1097. doi:10.1007/s00520-018-4398-4