A description of heterosexual couples' sexual adjustment to androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE It is estimated that 600,000 men are currently living in North America with castrate levels of testosterone as a result of androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. The goal of this study was to explore how patients and their partners adjust to changes associated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). METHODS Eighteen couples were interviewed regarding their adjustment to ADT side effects. RESULTS Three distinct patterns of adjustment were observed. One group of couples had assumed sex to be impossible after commencing ADT, and quickly accepted the loss of sex in exchange for a life extending treatment (four couples). Another group was found to be struggling to either maintain satisfying sex or adapt to the loss of their sexual relationship (five couples). The third group had struggled, but found that they were satisfied with their sexual outcome (nine couples). A subset of these couples successfully adjusted to changes in the man's sexual function and found satisfying ways to be sexually active (five couples). CONCLUSIONS The finding that some couples are able to enjoy satisfying sex, despite castrate levels of testosterone, raised questions about how patients are prepared to undergo ADT and how they are managed. It is possible that both the couples who gave up on sex because they believed that satisfying sex was impossible, and the couples who continued to struggle to adjust, may have faired better if they had known how other couples are able to maintain satisfying sex while the man is androgen-deprived.

DOI: 10.1002/pon.1794

Cite this paper

@article{Walker2011ADO, title={A description of heterosexual couples' sexual adjustment to androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.}, author={Lauren Walker and J. W. Robinson}, journal={Psycho-oncology}, year={2011}, volume={20 8}, pages={880-8} }