Men’s sexual help-seeking and care needs after radical prostatectomy or other non-hormonal, active prostate cancer treatments

Melissa K. Hyde, Melissa Opozda, Kirstyn Laurie, Andrew D. Vincent, John L. Oliffe, Christian J. Nelson, Jeff Dunn, Eric Chung, Michael Gillman, Rustom P. Manecksha, Gary Wittert, Suzanne K. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine prostate cancer (PCa) survivors’ sexual help-seeking intentions, behaviours, and unmet needs. Methods: In this prospective cohort study, men who underwent active, non-hormonal treatment completed baseline (N = 558) and 6-month follow-up (N = 387) questionnaires. Theory of planned behaviour (TPB) constructs (sexual help-seeking intention, perceived behavioural control (PBC), subjective norm, attitude), masculine values (e.g., sexual importance/priority, emotional self-reliance), sex life and functioning, sexual supportive care needs, distress (anxiety, depression), and sexual help-seeking behaviour were assessed. Results: Most men (M age = 64.6 years; M years post-diagnosis = 4.0) received prostatectomy (93%), reported severe erectile dysfunction (52%), ≥ 1 unmet sexual care need (66%), and sought help from a doctor (baseline 52%, follow-up 42%). Sexual care needs were significantly associated with poorer erectile function, reduced satisfaction with sex-life, valuing sex as important/integral to identity (masculine values), and increased depression (p ≤ 0.001). Sexual help-seeking intentions were significantly associated with valuing sex as important/integral to identity, recent help-seeking, greater confidence/control, perceiving support from important others, and positive attitudes, for sexual help-seeking (p < 0.001). Significant predictors of sexual help-seeking (follow-up) were baseline intentions, recent help-seeking (p < 0.001), and increased anxiety (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Men’s unmet sexual care needs, sexual help-seeking intentions, and behaviour appear driven by the importance/value attributed to sex, distress, positive feelings, support from others, and confidence for help-seeking. Psychosocial providers are well-placed to address men’s concerns, yet few sought their assistance. Interventions to improve men’s access to effective sexual care are needed, particularly focused on reframing masculine values about the importance of sex and leveraging TPB-based predictors of help-seeking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2699-2711
Number of pages13
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - May 2021


  • Health service needs
  • Help-seeking behaviour
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Men
  • Prostate cancer
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

Cite this