Medical help-seeking for sexual concerns in prostate cancer survivors

Hyde, Melissa K., Zajdlewicz, Leah, Wootten, Addie C., Nelson, Christian J., Lowe, Anthony, Dunn, Jeff and Chambers, Suzanne K. (2016) Medical help-seeking for sexual concerns in prostate cancer survivors. Sexual Medicine, 4 1: E7-E17. doi:10.1016/j.esxm.2015.12.004


Author Hyde, Melissa K.
Zajdlewicz, Leah
Wootten, Addie C.
Nelson, Christian J.
Lowe, Anthony
Dunn, Jeff
Chambers, Suzanne K.
Title Medical help-seeking for sexual concerns in prostate cancer survivors
Journal name Sexual Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2050-1161
Publication date 2016-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.esxm.2015.12.004
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 4
Issue 1
Start page E7
End page E17
Total pages 11
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction: Although sexual dysfunction is common after prostate cancer, men’s decisions to seek help for sexual concerns are not well understood.

Aim: Describe predictors of actual prior help-seeking and intended future medical help-seeking for sexual dysfunction in prostate cancer survivors.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 510 prostate cancer survivors assessed masculine beliefs, attitudes, support/ approval from partner/peer networks (subjective norm), and perceived control as predictors of medical helpseeking for sexual concerns. A theory of planned behavior (TPB) perspective was used to examine actual prior and planned future behavior and contributing factors. Statistical analyses included multiple and logistic regressions.

Main Outcome Measures: Intention to see a doctor for sexual advice or help in the next 6 months was measured using the intention subscale adapted from the Attitudes to Seeking Help after Cancer Scale. Prior helpseeking was measured with a dichotomous yes/no scale created for the study.

Results: Men were Mage 71.69 years (SD = 7.71); 7.54 years (SD = 4.68) post-diagnosis; received treatment(s) (58.1% radical prostatectomy; 47.1% radiation therapy; 29.4% hormonal ablation); 81.4% reported severe ED (IIED 0e6) and 18.6% moderateemild ED (IIED 7e24). Overall, 30% had sought sexual help in the past 6 months, and 24% intended to seek help in the following 6 months. Prior help-seeking was less frequent among men with severe ED. Sexual help-seeking intentions were associated with lower education, prior sexual help-seeking, sexual importance/ priority, emotional self-reliance, positive attitude, and subjective norm (R2 = 0.56).

Conclusion: The TPB has utility as a theoretical framework to understand prostate cancer survivors’ sexual helpseeking decisions and may inform development of more effective interventions. Masculine beliefs were highly salient. Men who were more emotionally self-reliant and attributed greater importance to sex formed stronger help-seeking intentions. Subjective norm contributed most strongly to help-seeking intentions suggesting that health professionals/partners/peers have a key role as support mechanisms and components of psycho-sexual interventions.
Keyword Prostate cancer
Sexual help-seeking
Erectile dysfunction
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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