A Qualitative Exploration of South African Men's Perceived Effects of Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) as a Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer

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One of the treatments for advanced prostate cancer is Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT), characterized by chemical or physical castration, and which markedly reduces men’s testosterone levels. Given effects of testosterone on body composition, sexual function and other outcomes, what do men treated with ADT perceive its effects to be? Here, we undertake qualitative research with men treated in an urban Oncology clinic in Pretoria, South Africa to address men’s self‐reported experiences on ADT. Preliminary analyses rely upon 10 men's responses to open‐ended questions during interviews. These men were 64‐78 years of age, and almost all married (one widowed), had children and were no longer engaged in paid work. In addressing a question about the positive effects of ADT, men referred to its treatment for prostate cancer, with several generally specifying health or life. Several men also referred to eating and gaining weight. In addressing questions about the negative effects of ADT and effects on romantic/sex life, 7 of 9 married men referred to deleterious impacts on their sex lives. Responses implicated compromised desire and capacity for engaging in sexual behavior. With respect to perceived family, work or broader social life impacts, some men noted others’ worries and social support. Men also reported other symptoms that appeared to reflect a mixture of influences of prostate cancer and ADT: pain, nausea, difficulties urinating, and breast growth. Findings are situated within discussions of existing research on ADT largely from North American or European samples, and broader views of testosterone and male social behavior.


Oncology; African Studies


Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences