Guidelines for sexual health care and prostate cancer

Sexual health depends on physical, emotional, mental and social well-being, all of which can be affected by prostate cancer and its treatment. But talking about sex is not easy.These guidelines seek to encourage and empower individuals and couples affected by prostate cancer to actively discuss and seek care for sexual health concerns at any point during the prostate cancer journey.
Patient Guidelines
Please note that these guidelines do not replace individual medical advice.  Read more

Why are these guidelines important?

Movember brought together international experts to create a guide for clinicians on how best to provide sexual health care to people affected by prostate cancer – and adapted this guideline for patients to encourage shared decision-making between clinicians, patients, and partners, and improve sexual recovery after prostate cancer treatment.

Take ownership of your sexual health recovery. If you’re not having regular check-ins about sexual function and wellbeing with your healthcare provider, share these guidelines with them and tell them about the Clinician Guidelines. Ask how they can help you get intimacy and pleasure back in your life.

What’s in these guidelines?

There are six sections covering important topics and issues about sexual function and wellbeing before, during, and after prostate cancer treatment. The guidelines encourage clinicians to include sexual health in regular clinical care and to actively check in with individuals and couples about their concerns and expectations.

  • Sexual health should be a regular part of clinical care.

  • Cultural background, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity should be considered.

  • Realistic expectations on how treatment can impact sexual function and wellbeing.

  • Counselling and information about how to manage and treat sexual changes and challenges.

  • Erections problems occur with all treatment.

  • Treatment can have different impacts on orgasms and ejaculation.

  • Physical changes can occur with the penis.

  • Fertility and having children after treatment should be discussed.

  • Understand sexual wellbeing concerns before and after treatment

  • Personalize the way sexual health issues are managed.

  • It is normal to experience mental and emotional distress from the sexual side-effects of treatment.

  • Counselling and access to sex therapy should be available.

  • Personal preferences, cultural background, sexual orientation and gender identity should be considered.

  • Be aware of what medicines and devices are available to treat erection problems

  • Value of sex therapy for addressing issues like sex drive and intimacy

  • Some lifestyle changes can help improve erectile function.

  • Examples of helpful changes include quitting smoking, reducing alcohol, and exercising regularly.

Please note that these guidelines do not replace individual medical advice.  Read more

What’s the evidence behind these Guidelines?

Experts in sexual health, including clinicians, researchers, and prostate cancer survivors and their partners collaborated to review the current evidence and develop a framework for how clinicians can provide sexual health care for individuals and couples affected by prostate cancer.

The recommendations in the patient guidelines are taken from the  Guidelines for Sexual Health Care for Prostate Cancer: Recommendations of an International Panel (published in the  Journal of Sexual Medicine 2022).

Want to learn about sex and intimacy after prostate cancer?

The Sex and Intimacy After Prostate Cancer guide from Movember provides evidence-based strategies to recover sexual wellbeing after prostate cancer treatment, and supports meaningful conversations with your doctor.