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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Aging Male

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Objective: We undertake qualitative research with men treated in a Pretoria, South Africa Oncology clinic to address men’s self-reported experiences on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Methods: Analyses rely upon 22 men’s responses to open-ended questions during interviews. These men were 63–78 years of age, and almost all married (three widowed), had children and were no longer engaged in paid work. Results: In addressing questions about the anticipated and experienced positive and broader side effects of ADT, men referred to its treatment for prostate cancer, with several generally specifying health or life. Patients also referred to a variety of more specific effects such as pain, nausea, difficulties urinating, gaining weight, low energy and sleep disruptions that appeared to reflect a mixture of influences of prostate cancer, ADT and oncological treatment. In addressing a question about the effects of ADT on romantic/sex life, 16 of 19 married men referred to deleterious impacts on their sex lives. With respect to perceived family, work or broader social life impacts, some men noted others’ worries and social support. Conclusion: 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.


Prostate cancer; Androgen deprivation therapy; Castration; Sexual behavior; Erectile dysfunction; Aging


Biological and Physical Anthropology



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