Gay and Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer: From Diagnosis to Recovery

By Stevens, Gregg A. | Journal of the Medical Library Association, October 2019 | Go to article overview

Gay and Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer: From Diagnosis to Recovery


Stevens, Gregg A., Journal of the Medical Library Association


Gay and Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer: From Diagnosis to Recovery. Edited by Jane M. Ussher, Janette Perz, and B. R. Simon Rosser. New York, NY: Harrington Park Press; 2018. 353 p. $45.00. ISBN: 978-1-939594-25-9. ©

As stated in this book's introduction, it is estimated that approximately 2.8 million people in the United States are living with prostate cancer: living with a diagnosis, undergoing treatment, or living in the posttreatment recovery stage. Using the estimate that about 4% of men in the United States are gay or bisexual, this means that about 100,000 gay or bisexual men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Another statistic cited in the introduction is the fact that 1 out of 6 gay and bisexual men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime in their lifetime (p. 3).

As a cancer that is tied so tightly to sexuality, it would be reasonable to assume that prostate cancer patient care and information would encompass a variety of sexual preferences and practices, as a way of being culturally competent and addressing patient needs. However, as this volume of essays and research studies shows, a major disparity exists in the quality of care and information received by gay and bisexual men who are living with prostate cancer.

The book's chapters are grouped in three broad sections. The first section provides an overview of the current research base regarding the experiences of gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer, both physically and emotionally. As described in several chapters throughout this collection, prostate cancer is a disease that affects not only the patient, but also the patient's partner. Hetero-centric patient support has focused on the wife's role in the patient's care and recovery as the primary emotional support and sexual partner. Gay and bisexual men living with prostate cancer have different types of relationships to consider.

Most of these early chapters discuss sexual identity and the patient's place in a same-sex relationship or in the patient's social network of friends and family. This section focuses on the importance of these nonbiologically based social networks and relationships in the treatment of and recovery from prostate cancer.

The chapters in the second section deal with cancer care and support for this population during treatment and recovery. Some of the topics discussed include cancer treatment decision making, the effects of radiation therapy on sexual health, and experiences with sexual aids and other forms of sexual rehabilitation after treatment. The final chapter of this section notably discusses the development of Malecare, a gay, bisexual, and transgender prostate cancer support group.

Because sexual practices and interests for gay and bisexual men will differ from those of heterosexual men, it is important to provide relevant advice and information to the patients and the people in their support networks. …

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