Sexual characteristics of patients with prostate cancer seen for radiation treatment

20 Jul 2023
Abbas Adus-salam, Mutiu Jimoh, Chiamaka Godsgift Ehiedu

Background: Prostate cancer was estimated to be the second most diagnosed cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer mortality among men, with an estimated 1.4 million new cases and 375,000 deaths globally in 2020. There are significant changes in sexual activities and subsequent changes in quality of life associated with the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Sexual problems experienced by prostate cancer patients include erectile dysfunction, reduced sexual desire, reduced sexual function, problems with ejaculation, as well as problems with orgasm, and these could occur before and/or after treatment. This study aims to highlight the sexual characteristics of prostate cancer patients, which would help identify altered sexuality that might require intervention by healthcare providers.

Method: All patients who presented with pathologically diagnosed, organ-confined prostate cancer referred for high-dose-rate brachytherapy were approached for participation in the study. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was administered to the consenting patients.

Results: A total of 56 patients gave consent for the study out of 60. All the patients were married, with 5 (8.9%) having multiple wives. Only ten respondents (17.9%) reported having other sexual partners besides their wives. More than half of the patients (34) (60.7%) started having sexual intercourse between the ages of 18 and 20. Many patients claimed that the diagnosis of prostate cancer had affected their sexual lives. About half of the respondents (44.6%) believed that their partners were less satisfied with their sexual performance, as evidenced by the loss of partners (5.4%), partners refusing sexual advances (14.3%), partners complaints (10.7%), and partners' reduced inclination to ask for sex (33.9%). One patient expressed fears of passing the disease to their partners.

Conclusion: The management of prostate cancer should include sex therapy and rehabilitation in couples from the point of diagnosis to maintain sexual function as close as possible to that in the general population in order to maintain an improved quality of life.

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