In this second episode of Canopy TV they explore the impact cancer can have on men’s health, sexuality and their relationships. They also talk to caregivers and supporters about the role they can take on, the challenges they face and the care they that they need as caregivers. Cancer treatments can cause changes in sexual desire and function, and Dr Graham Woodside, CEO of Prostate Foundation talks about the support his organisation provides for men.
Dr Woodside says, “When men are diagnosed with prostate cancer they quite quickly become aware of the issues that they may face, in terms of the negative side effects that come out of their treatment. Erectile disfunction and incontinence come with that territory.
“Prostate cancer is effectively a couple’s disease, in that the man has it but it still affects the partner. A man’s ‘maleness’ is linked to his sexuality, and for many guys they are concerned that they won’t be the same again, and that’s the reality of it. At least for the short term they may not be able to be sexually active, and they may have to deal with incontinence. However, some guys say, well at least I’m alive, so I can deal with those other things.”
Medical Oncologist Dr Fritha Hanning says, “In terms of sexuality changes with hormone therapy, one of the things that happens is that it lowers the male hormone, testosterone, and that testosterone is an important part of our libido and how we feel in terms of that desire to have sex. For some people that’s really key, so it’s about how you feel about that personally and how important it is to your relationship. There can be changes in sexual function and changes in intimacy and you have to decide as a couple as to what’s important.”
In future episodes of Canopy TV, we break down “what is cancer”, the effects of fertility and also talk about side effects of hormone therapy. For more information on cancer treatment specialists, integrative oncology and hormone therapy, please go to http://www.canopycancercare.co.nz.