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Prostate Cancer Survivors and Partners Want Information on Sexual Recovery

  • Knowing about sexual side effects before treatment. Many participants said they hadn’t been counseled about the sexual impact of treatment.

“My doctor was great about a lot of information, but that particular piece [around sexual side effects] was not really addressed,” said one patient in a focus group.

  • Communication between partners. The need for better communication within a couple was a common concern, with partner involvement encouraged.

“My doctors were very good about looking at my wife and saying, you know “What are your questions, what are your concerns,” and so that was really helpful to us,” a patient remarked.

  • Acknowledging partners’ needs. Some female partners said they were as interested in sex, but reluctant to say so “for fear of being negatively judged.”
  • Need for support and counseling. Most couples felt that support groups and counseling could be beneficial.

“You feel comfortable when you know that there is somebody else going through the same thing that you are going through. I think that helps,” said one partner in a couples’ focus group.

  • Need to tailor support for same-sex couples. Gay participants stressed the importance of addressing their needs, which might be different from those of heterosexual men and couples. For example, couples who engage in anal sex may need to adjust their roles as the insertive or penetrated partner.

Most participants felt that web-based support would be a good idea for couples coping with sexual changes after prostate cancer treatment, although some said they would prefer separate content for patient and partners. The researchers are currently testing a web-based tool for this purpose.

The study was published online in March as an article in press in Sexual Medicine.


Sexual Medicine

Mehta, Akanksha, MD, MS, et al.

“What Patients and Partners Want in Interventions That Support Sexual Recovery After Prostate Cancer Treatment: An Exploratory Convergent Mixed Methods Study”

(Full-text. Published online: March 1, 2019)

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