Sexuality and exercise in men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer

Abstract

Objective

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for the management of prostate cancer results in a range of side effects including sexual dysfunction. Exercise is proposed as a potentially effective therapy to counteract changes in sexual function. The current study explored the impact of ADT on men’s sexuality and the effect of exercise on this experience.

Methods

Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 men (age = 63.1 ± 3.8) who were on ADT for prostate cancer for ≤12 months and who were part of a pre-existing exercise intervention trial.

Results

Sexual concerns for men included changes in body image, partner relationships, sex drive, sexual performance and masculinity. In coping with these concerns, men described a sense of personal acceptance of sexual changes through a shift in priorities and values away from penetrative sexual intercourse, knowledge and understanding about ADT, and partner support. Exercise in a group-based setting contributed to the acceptance of sexual changes through affirming strength-based aspects of masculinity and peer support.

Conclusion

Exercise appears to have utility as a strategy to assist men to manage the negative impact of ADT on sexuality and masculinity more broadly.

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Acknowledgments

SKC is supported by an Australian Research Council Professorial Future Fellowship. PC is supported by the Cancer Council Western Australia Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. We would like to thank exercise physiologists Courtney White, Mark Trevaskis and Kelly Vibert

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None.

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Correspondence to K. Hamilton.

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Hamilton, K., Chambers, S.K., Legg, M. et al. Sexuality and exercise in men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. Support Care Cancer 23, 133–142 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-014-2327-8

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Keywords

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Sexuality
  • Androgen deprivation therapy
  • Exercise
  • Masculinity