Changes in Sexual Roles and Quality of Life for Gay Men after Prostate Cancer: Challenges for Sexual Health Providers

Tae L. Hart, David Coon, Marc A. Kowalkowski, Karen Zhang, Justin I. Hersom, Heather H. Goltz, Daniela A. Wittmann, David M. Latini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Introduction: Gay men with prostate cancer (GMPCa) may have differential health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and sexual health outcomes than heterosexual men with prostate cancer (PCa), but existing information is based on clinical experience and small studies. Aims: Our goals were to: (i) describe HRQOL and examine changes in sexual functioning and bother; (ii) explore the psychosocial aspects of sexual health after PCa; and (iii) examine whether there were significant differences on HRQOL and sexual behavior between GMPCa and published norms. Methods: A convenience sample of GMPCa completed validated disease-specific and general measures of HRQOL, ejaculatory function and bother, fear of cancer recurrence, and satisfaction with prostate cancer care. Measures of self-efficacy for PCa management, illness intrusiveness, and disclosure of sexual orientation were also completed. Where possible, scores were compared against published norms. Main Outcome Measures: Main outcome measures were self-reported sexual functioning and bother on the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index. Results: Compared with norms, GMPCa reported significantly worse functioning and more severe bother scores on urinary, bowel, hormonal symptom scales (Ps<0.015-0.0001), worse mental health functioning (P<0.0001), greater fear of cancer recurrence (P<0.0001), and were more dissatisfied with their PCa medical care. However, GMPCa reported better sexual functioning scores (P<0.002) compared with norms. Many of the observed differences met criteria for clinical significance. Physical functioning HRQOL and sexual bother scores were similar to that of published samples. GMPCa tended to be more "out" about their sexual orientation than other samples of gay men. Conclusions: GMPCa reported substantial changes in sexual functioning after PCa treatment. They also reported significantly worse disease-specific and general HRQOL, fear of recurrence, and were less satisfied with their medical care than other published PCa samples. Sexual health providers must have an awareness of the unique functional and HRQOL differences between gay and heterosexual men with PCa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2308-2317
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Functioning
  • Gay Men
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Quality of Life
  • Symptom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


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