Sexual function after prostate cancer treatment in the MSM community

There is a significant knowledge gap concerning sexual function for prostate cancer patients in the men who have sex with men (MSM) community, because all of the existing assessment tools are designed for the heterosexual population.

If you are gay or bisexual man, between the ages of 18 and 75, and have previously been treated for prostate cancer, a Canadian research group would like to invite you to participate in a current research study. The goal of this study is to develop a survey to assess sexual function after prostate cancer treatment specific for MSM. Increased knowledge in this area can help guide future patients in treatment decisions.

Twenty minutes to 1 hour of your time may influence treatment of future patients.

Your participation will involve completion of a set of questions online. Your response can help us refine this list and develop the survey. No personal information will be collected in the survey and all your responses will be kept confidential. This study is being supported by the UBC British Columbia Cancer Agency Research Ethics Board.

Please consider participating in this important study by following this link.

If you need any further information, please contact the study coordinator, Dr. Erik Wibowo.

The Principal Investigator for this study is Tsz Kin (Bernard) Lee, MD, Radiation Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Abbotsford Cancer Centre, Abbotsford, British Columbia V2S 0C2, Canada.

4 Responses

  1. I’m wondering why their sexual issues would be much different than the straight community? They are still stuck with the same issues … erectile dysfunction, dry orgasm, shrunken penis, incontinence, urination during orgasm, lack of libido. … And they are still humans, who have trouble dealing with these issues with partners; understanding their new, so-called masculinity; trying to reconcile the rest of their lives without “normal” sex. I assume it’s every bit as sad, and as desperate, as it is for the rest of us.

  2. One obvious thing I can think of (and not just for MSM) is that different forms of penetration form a more rigorous standard than “sufficient for intercourse”, by which standard most urological surgeons will award themselves a passing grade for the notorious “stuffer”. There will be many other examples.

  3. It is different, Clara. Many gay men have accepted their self-definition from the majority culture; i.e., they are defined by their sexuality. Therefore, loss of sexuality is tantamount to loss of identity. The importance of masculinity is greater among the gay men, and the perceived loss of that due to loss of erectile function is greater too.

    The difference between my straight and gay prostate cancer support groups is striking. The straight men aren’t as disturbed by the loss of erectile function. They often (albeit not universally) say things like, “my wife doesn’t mind.” Their marriages are, on the average, longer term, bonded by children, and less concerned with sex. There is also a necessity for firmer erections for gay sex.

    On standard survey instruments, gay men suffer more from prostate cancer compared to straight men. And that’s not just because of erectile function — gay men’s reported quality of life after treatment is less than for straight men. See this abstract.

  4. Allen Edel has summarized the potential differences in prostate cancer treatment side effects and experiences between MSM and heterosexual men very well. MSM may also have a wider range of sexual practices. Incontinence and rectal bleeding are more bothersome for MSM. Sexuality may also play a more important role in identity and relationship.

    Our team is developing a questionnaire dedicated for MSM, instead of ones borrowed from heterosexual population, in order to advance quality of life research. For this questionnaire to be successful, we need as many participants from the MSM as possible.

    Thank you for your interest.

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