Dr. Wassersug, a professor of anatomy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and a prostate cancer survivor often gives lectures about advanced prostate cancer. He opens his lectures by asking a provocative question: “Who in our modern society is castrated?

The answer invariably comes back loud and clear: sex offenders. Someone may venture another guess: transsexuals? Or maybe men with testicular cancer?

Wrong, wrong and wrong.”

In reality, castration is almost exclusively the lot of men with advanced prostate cancer.

In the middle ages castration was often performed on the defeated soldiers who were captured on the battle field, happily this barbaric practice has passed out of vogue. However, most of us who have advanced prostate cancer are subjected to this treatment.

Many men are ashamed of their condition and feel that their manhood has been removed. “Right now, it’s such a humiliation to be androgen-deprived that patients barely even talk to other patients,” said Dr. Wassersug, “to admit that you’ve been castrated is shameful.”

We need to change this mind set, castrated men are not only complete, but actually we are stronger because we have weathered this treatment, survived it and the cancer. We must change our mindset and begin to talk openly and honestly about our situation.

This is the only way we can possibly feel better about ourselves and help our brothers who are also chemically and surgically castrated.


Joel T. Nowak MA, MSW