The impact of sexual orientation on body image, self-esteem, urinary and sexual functions in the experience of prostate cancer Academic Article uri icon


  • Prostate cancer (PCa) poses a large health burden globally. Research indicates that men experience a range of psychological challenges associated with PCa including changes to identity, self-esteem and body image. The ways in which sexual orientation plays a role in the experience of PCa, and the subsequent impact on quality of life (QoL), body image and self-esteem have only recently been addressed. By addressing treatment modality, where participant numbers were sufficient, we also sought to explore whether gay (homosexual) men diagnosed with PCa (PCaDx) and with a primary treatment modality of surgery would report differences in body image and self-esteem compared with straight (heterosexual) men with PCaDx with a primary treatment modality of surgery, compared with gay and straight men without PCaDx. The results of our study identified overall differences with respect to PCaDx (related to urinary function, sexual function and health evaluation), and sexual orientation (related to self-esteem), rather than interactions between sexual orientation and PCaDx. Gay men with PCaDx exhibited higher levels of urinary functioning than straight men with PCaDx, the difference being reversed for gay and straight men without PCaDx; but this result narrowly failed to achieve statistical significance, suggesting a need for further research, with larger samples.

publication date

  • 2018