Malecare and the University of Minnesota collaborated on the first study to investigate what gay and bisexual men are offered and what they try as rehabilitation to address the sexual and urinary effects of prostate cancer treatment.
Gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer (N=193) from Malecare’s online and in-person support groups completed survey questions asking what rehabilitation treatments were offered, what they tried, and their satisfaction with outcomes.
Most (68.4%) participants reported being out as gay/bisexual to at least one cancer specialist. Only 8.8 percent reported a sexual history was taken. The most common problems reported were: loss of ejaculate (93.8%), erectile difficulties (89.6%), change in sense of orgasm (87.0%), loss of sexual confidence (76.7%), changes to the penis (65.8%), increased pain in receptive anal sex (64.8%), urinary incontinence not related to sex (64.2%), and urinary incontinence during sex (49.8%). Of these, only loss of ejaculate, erectile difficulties, and non-sexual urinary problems were commonly discussed by clinicians during prostate cancer treatment.
From this research, we learned that doctors fail to complete clinical and psycho-social histories of their patients. Without a proper and full clinical history, it is difficult to develop an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment for prostate cancer lacks adequate history taking, and consensus around rehabilitation practices, resulting in idiosyncratic approaches to rehabilitation.