The Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatments on Husband and Wife Sexuality


There is a global increase in the prevalence rates of cancers. There are different cancers that have significant influences on individual health. Apart from these cancers, there are other eminent public health challenges. These health conditions affect people through many ways. Notably, other diseases have minimal impact on people’s health. However, most cancers are dreaded. This is because of their potential impacts on the lives of individuals. Evidently, prostate cancer is one the most dreaded diseases. It is most common in adults. The cancerous disease is a serious ill health condition, which affects both men and their sexual partners. Effective identification and diagnosis is a fundamental requirement in the management and treatment of cancer. However, when diagnosed at a later stage, the disease presents massive challenges. Prostate cancer affects a majority of the married people. Many cancer patients report a changed communication and interaction from their parents while undergoing treatment.

Previous investigations indicate that no communication occur between couples during the management of prostate cancer (Boehmer & Clark, 2004). Indeed, most couples rarely discuss the implications of the treatment. Observably, couples tend to discuss with other people outside their household. These discussions include negative implications such as worries, uncertainties, and unfulfilled emotional needs. However, noting that communication is crucial for effective sexual activity, in its absence intimacy hardly takes place (Boehmer & Clark, 2004). Conclusively, non – communication between couples indicates the potential risks of unpreparedness. This includes adapting to new sexual activities. There are different explanations put forward to corroborate that the management of prostate cancer affects intimacy and sexuality. This research proposal intends to ascertain and confirm that prostate cancer treatment affects sexuality in both men and women.

Literature Review

It is notable that prostate cancer has significant impacts on an individuals’ quality of life. The cancer frequently affects more men than women. The challenge of managing patient’s ill health begins immediately after a horrifying diagnosis (Mulhall, 2011). The financial expenses associated with prostate cancer management are the preliminary problems. However, prostate cancer management through drug administration and other strategies is the most notable challenge. This is because prostate disease treatment largely involves the administration of critical hormonal medicines. These have the potential to affect the well-being of most individuals. There are diverse effects of treatment strategies that seek to suppress the spread of melanoma. These impacts are permanent in nature. The permanent hormonal medication causes vomiting. It also leads to the decrease in muscle tone. Erectile dysfunction is also associated with this condition.

There are other complex psychological impacts. There are notable impacts of self-esteem. This is associated with the diagnosis and management of cancer. Apart from this, individuals suffer a decrease in sexual urge. Indicatively, the unawareness of future scenarios presents massive psychological challenges among patients (Perez, Skinner & Meyerowitz, 2002). There are studies focused on comprehending the impact of prostate cancer management on people’s social lives. However, there is minimal research focused on understanding the impacts of management of prostate cancer. Particularly, this relates to both human sexes (Alterowitz & Alterowitz, 2004).

Prostate cancer threatens the survival of men and their families. Sexual dysfunction following treatment has implications on men and their intimate partners (Alterowitz & Alterowitz, 2004). Therefore, it is vital to explore the perceptions of men with a history of prostate cancer. Some studies corroborate that prostate cancer diagnosis in men draws their wives closer. Conversely, marital sexuality may also decline because women tend to suffer from massive stress. This might make them slump into depression because their partners’ ill health (Alterowitz & Alterowitz, 2004).

Evidently, even prior to prostate cancer diagnosis in men, certain aspects of their sexuality become recognizably changed. Prostate cancer management contributes to the cardinal change in sexuality. Indeed, most people eventually become impotent because of postoperative and physiological alterations (Mulhall, 2011). Furthermore, prostate cancer is associated with advanced age of patients. Indicatively, such patients may have experienced a steady decline of interest in sexual encounters. There is proper documentation of the impact of post cancer experiences in sustaining adequate erection in patients. The inability to participate in penetrative sex affects patients psychologically (Perez, Skinner & Meyerowitz, 2002). The emotional torture they undergo because of their inability to excite their women lowers their esteem. The women regularly report sexual dissatisfaction. This presents fresh challenges in marriage that require proper handling.

The treatment processes significantly affects the sexual lives and intimacy of most patients. The alteration of erectile functions changes the way patients observe themselves. It also affects their interaction with their personal partners. The side effects that emerge from prostate cancer are notable. These include poor interpersonal relations with intimate partners and other men (Perez, Skinner & Meyerowitz, 2002). There are diverse domains of patients’ sex lives that get affected by the management of prostate cancer. They include quality of sexual confidence, daily interaction with women, sexual appeal, and the general masculinity.

Sexual intimacy is highly affected by prostate cancer treatment in men. The emergence of erectile predicaments is similar to diminished sexual performance. It also equates to inability to take pleasure in intimate relationships (Perez, Skinner & Meyerowitz, 2002). Indeed, adequate erectile performance is significant for satisfaction of both partners. Inability to sustain sexual performance also impairs expressive and physical closeness. Eventually, inadequate closeness affects the chances of developing the urge for sexual intimacy (Mulhall, 2011). Many men are normally anxious about sexual intimacy with their partners. The men always fear having awkward and embarrassing sexual activity. These leaves their partners dissatisfied.


The study intends to understand different aspects of psychological predicaments associated with prostate cancer. It intends to comprehend how prostate cancer management is impacts sexuality among couples. The study shall recruit a suitable sample of prostate cancer patients. This must be together with their couples (Boehmer & Babayan, 2004). The study intends to recruit 240 men who have undergone prostate cancer management. Furthermore, 60 spouses of the 240 men must participate in the study. About 20 focus group discussions with prostate cancer patients shall be applicable. In addition, five focus group discussions must be applicable in the proposed investigation (Harden, Schafenacker, Northouse, Mood, & et al., 2002). The focus group discussions must transpire simultaneously. However, this must be in separate settings. This minimizes discussions about the aspects of their respective focus groups. Four expert sociologists and urologists shall conduct the sessions. These shall take approximately 90 minutes (Harden et al., 2002).

Discussion protocols are very important for the proposed investigation. This is because they help to investigate patients’ general perceptions concerning their sexuality. However, this follows diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. The notable areas under discussion shall include urinary and erectile dysfunction (Boehmer & Babayan, 2004). The proposed study must also discuss certain relational aspects. These include interpersonal relationships, the effectiveness of health management, and psychological predicaments.

Key informant interviews are necessary for provision of additional information. The investigators shall develop appropriate questionnaire. The key informants must individually administer the questionnaire. Sampling procedures are applicable in the selection of key informants (Harden et al., 2002). Proper inclusion and exclusion criteria must undergo critical observation. Ideally, the biasness and instances of human confounding factors are important. Different qualitative analysis methods shall be applicable in analyzing the results. The investigators created codes for focus group questions to help in interpreting participants’ feedback. Furthermore, summary topics, which describe prostate cancer experiences, are vital to capture participants’ feedback (Harden et al., 2002). The analysis entails regular comparison of the codes. Description of sexuality experiences after treatment offered by different sets of patients is applicable. Particularly, this relates to the determination of the impact of prostate cancer management on human sexuality. Furthermore, spouses’ feedback shall provide additional and confirmatory feedback on their sexual experiences (Harden et al., 2002).


Prostate cancer is a major global health concern. It is mostly prevalent among the adult population. The cancer patients undergo difficult experiences in their lives every day. However, the most notable challenge includes the reality of permanent transformations in their sexual lives. There are diverse strategies in the treatment of prostate tumors. These strategies affect the sexual competencies of cancer patients. Erectile dysfunction is one of the major challenges that affect most male cancer patients. However, the severity of erectile dysfunction varies amongst different patients. The proposed study intends to investigate the impacts of clinical management of prostate cancer on the sexuality of patients.


Alterowitz, R. & Alterowitz, B. (2004). Intimacy with impotence: The couple’s guide to better sex after prostate disease. Massachusetts, MA: Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Boehmer, U. & Babayan, R. (2004). Facing Erectile Dysfunction Due to Prostate Cancer Treatment: Perspectives of Men and Their Partners. Cancer Investigation, 22 (6), 840-848.

Boehmer, U. & Clark, J. (2004).Communication About Prostate Cancer between Men and Their Wives. Family Practice, 11 (3), 226 – 232.

Harden, J., Schafenacker, A., Northouse, L., Mood, D., Smith, P., Hussain, M. & Baranowski, K. (2002). Couples’ Experiences with Prostate Cancer: Focus Group Research. HARDEN, 29 (4), 701 -709.

Mulhall, J. (2011). Cancer and sexual health. New Jersey, NJ: Humana.

Perez, M., Skinner, E. & Meyerowitz, B. (2002). Sexuality and Intimacy Following Radical Prostatectomy: Patient and Partner Perspectives. Health Psychology, 21, (3), 288–293.