Sex life tops list of concerns in survey of men with prostate cancer
A national survey titled “Prostate Cancer in America,” found the top complaint of men with the disease was of dissatisfaction with their sex lives. Almost two-thirds of the 928 men questioned gave this emotional response concerning a look at their most intimate part of their lives. Out of the respondents, 53% had sexual dysfunction and nearly a quarter had erectile dysfunction. The symptoms men have felt in regards to how prostate cancer affects their sexuality, were expressed by many of the men with feelings of “no longer feeling like a man” while others had fears of partner abandonment.
Other worries men had were over troubling symptoms which included 20% of men complaining of fatigue and 19% of men who experienced overactive bladder. Up to half of the patients reported side effects from treatments and 34% had pain preventing activities they enjoyed.
The survey also looked at the quality of a man’s life with regard to their mental health and prostate cancer. Here again, a high proportion of men (62%) expressed sadness and worry (68%) that their cancer could progress.
The majority of patients – three-quarters – reported satisfaction with their medical care, however many stated they felt a lack of sufficient mental health resources and treatment and would have welcomed more support in dealing with depression and anxiety. This is a fairly common occurrence for men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer with one in ten men who will be diagnosed with anxiety or panic disorders (9%) or a mood disorder such as depression (8%).
Even when a man had finished treatment for prostate cancer and were considered in remission, many still referred to the disease as “scary,” “life-changing,” and manageable.” It is not uncommon for some men to still have persistent feelings of emotional upset down the road. As one respondent summed it up, “breast cancer survival is often considered a badge of honor while men who survive prostate cancer see it as a badge of shame.”
One option for men diagnosed with prostate cancer to consider is joining a prostate cancer support group. Support groups can assist men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer to help them understand the disease and the variety of options available for treatment. For men who are survivors of prostate cancer, they often serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration by maintaining a positive mental outlook for one another.
Men who have prostate cancer can give valuable advice and support to other men newly diagnosed by being involved in a prostate cancer support group. By meeting and working together on a regular basis, this group can offer patients and their families’ strength and hope as they go through their diagnosis, treatment, and recovery together.