While it often falls under the radar, prostate cancer is a severe problem for men. In fact, 1 in 7 men will receive this diagnosis at some point. With statistics like that, prostate cancer poses as significant a risk to men as breast cancer does to women. While there’s endless information about breast cancer, prostate cancer seems much more of a medical black hole.
Of course, things are progressing. Studies, such as the VCaP prostate tests, help develop understanding. You can head to sites like herabiolabs.com for details on this study and others, all of which help towards developing treatments. Indeed, the future looks set to get better as our knowledge grows.
But, despite these studies, there are still areas in which we need to develop understanding. As can be seen from articles like this one found at health.usnews.com, gay men who receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer find a surprising lack of information about the future they face. Most notably, healthcare practitioners fail to even ask sexual orientation. The argument is that who you’re attracted to has little standing on an illness such as cancer. But, that isn’t quite the reality.
Of course, there’s no distinct difference in statistics between gay and straight men being diagnosed. Cancer can happen to anyone. But, gay men certainly face challenges unique to their sexual orientation. Worse, there’s no guidelines or information out there to help them through. And, with healthcare practitioners not even taking sexuality into account, the road becomes even rockier.
On top of this, many gay men who receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer report feeling isolated, even within the gay community. Unlike with a diagnosis of HIV, where everyone pulls together, a prostate diagnosis leaves you out in the cold. The gay community itself merely hasn’t considered the impact of this illness. So, gay men who do suffer are often left with no one to turn to.
But, how does this illness impact gay men? For the most part, this issue comes from the way treatment affects sexual performance. Of course, this can be an issue for anyone. But, for a gay man, the implications are that bit more damaging. For one, many treatments can result in weaker erections, which are more problematic for gay men because of harder penetration. Plus, if surgery is conducted to remove the prostate, there can be problems with ejaculation. Not to mention the obvious issues faced by those who receive during intercourse. As well as experiencing discomfort before treatment, there’s the ongoing issue of removing the primary source of pleasure.
What needs to be done differently? For the most part, we just need to open the floor for conversations like these. It seems that, though sexual orientation doesn’t immediately impact the condition, healthcare providers still need to ask about it. This way, they can talk through personal worries, and help prepare the patient adequately for what they can expect after treatment. In short; doing away with this silence will go a long way.