Gay/bi men with prostate cancer: bias, unique needs

LGBTQ scholarly publisher Harrington Park Press will release their latest book, «Gay & Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer (from Diagnosis to Recovery)».

Gay & Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer
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Like previous titles from the imprint, such as «Transgender Sex Work and Society» and «LGBTQ Hospice and Palliative Care», the book is not only the first of its kind, but also necessary and timely.

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While the books «A Gay Man’s Guide to Prostate Cancer» (2005) by Gerald Perlman and Jack Drescher and «What Every Gay Man Needs to Know about Prostate Cancer» (2013) by Gerald Perlman were written as guides for gay men living with prostate cancer, we believe this to be the first written specifically for medical professionals treating gay and bisexual men living with prostate cancer.

Medical science has conspicuously–and shamefully–been complicit in valuing straight white men above all others. Women, racial minorities, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) communities are underrepresented in clinical trials, which limits our ability to identify their needs and to respond to them thoughtfully.

The LGBTQ community has been described as experiencing an «ignored epidemic» and characterised as a «growing and medically underserved population» in the area of cancer care.

In no disease is this inequality more apparent than in prostate cancer. Of the hundreds of thousands of studies devoted to prostate cancer, only 88 small-scale efforts have focused on understanding the experiences of gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals with prostate cancer.

«Gay & Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer» provides an overview of research and practice dealing with the specific needs of gay and bisexual men living with prostate cancer and features both cutting-edge research and powerful portraits of gay and bisexual men living with prostate cancer.

In Chapter 17, we hear from a gay man who wondered whether anyone was listening to him when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 46. He recalls, «What about anal sex? Penetrative sex? Receptive sex? How will the absence of semen affect my orgasm? How can you reach orgasm with a flaccid penis? Will I still be a sexual man? Will I feel attractive to other men? These were all such personal questions interconnected with my identity, and I needed answers to reduce my anxiety, and yet I just couldn’t bring myself to ask them. I felt embarrassed revealing myself to this man and caught up in a heterosexist world, just as I always had».

If we are to make progress toward equality, we must listen to these men and value their humanity as tenderly as we would their straight male counterparts. «Gay & Bisexual Men Living with Prostate Cancer» will be indispensable for healthcare, oncology, and mental health practitioners who seek to address their specific experiences and challenges.

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