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Gay and bisexual men wanted for prostate cancer research

Gay and bisexual men wanted for prostate cancer research

A man buries his head in his hands

A study looking at the experiences of gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer has launched in the US.

The ‘RESTORE 2’ clinical trial is being run in conjunction with Malecare and the University of Minnesota. The National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute provided funding.

This particular cancer, ‘is the second most common cancer among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men … yet it suffers a poverty of research,’ says a statement from Malecare.

‘There are 614 studies focused on heterosexual men but their findings may not generalize to gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer. We have created an evidence-based study to understand best practices with the gay and bisexual patients.’

Treatment side effects

Prostate cancer typically affects men over the age of 50, with the majority diagnosed between the ages 65-69 years. There is no evidence it affects gay/bi men more than it does straight men. It can also affect trans women.

Treatment for this cancer can sometimes impact on urinary and sexual function. This means those recovering may experience incontinence or difficulties maintaining erections. The risk rises for those undergoing operations to remove their prostate gland.

Malecare, founded 1998, is a US-based nonprofit prostate cancer support organization.

The same year it launched, it created a support network for gay men with prostate cancer. In addition, it does much work in the field of LGBT psycho-oncology.

‘Gay men were less likely to have recurrences of prostate cancer after initial treatment’

Darryl Mitteldorf, LCSW an oncology social worker and researcher, works with Malecare. He told GSN more about the study.

He suggests straight men are more likely to get appropriate cancer treatment than gay and bisexual men because such little research has been done to understand the latter’s unique needs.

‘A study I completed in 2016 showed gay men less likely to have recurrences of prostate cancer after initial treatment than straight men.

‘A study regarding why gay men have favorable treatment outcomes may lead to better treatments for gay men and for all men. On the other hand, several studies have shown that gay and bisexual men have higher levels of psychological and social distress than straight men.

‘The RESTORE 1 study showed that the sexual and urinary incontinence faced by gay and bisexual men created extraordinary distress.

‘Urologists need clinical evidence to support unique information and treatment for needs and concerns of gay and bisexual men. Our RESTORE 2 clinical trial will provide the first set of evidence.’

Mitteldorf says sexual rehabilitation programs for prostate cancer survivors are usually ‘tailored for vaginal insertive sex’. They take the form of Viagra, vacuum pumps and injectible medications, such as Trimix.

Can you help?

The RESTORE 2 study wants to speak to gay and bi men about their experiences, and determine what rehabilitation might be best for them.

Any men in the US who thinks they might be eligible to join the two-year clinical trial can find out more details at Malecare.

See also

Do gay men have a particular problem with getting older?

Stephen Fry reveals his secret prostate cancer battle in emotional video

Can prostate massage reduce the risk of prostate cancer?