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The LGBTQIA+ Community and Prostate Cancer

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community can have unique experiences with prostate cancer, emotional effects of a diagnosis, and treatment side effects, some of which affect sexual health. You are not alone. ZERO, and many other organizations, are here to help.

I am a gay or bisexual man with prostate cancer

Gay and bisexual men have no increased risk of prostate cancer as compared to straight men. Neither oral nor anal sex increases the risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is not caused by one’s sexual orientation.

However, studies have shown that gay and bisexual men are more negatively impacted by the side effects of prostate cancer than straight men are. The impact on intimacy for gay and bisexual men is particularly profound. Talking with your partner about erectile dysfunction and utilizing various resources may help you navigate these difficulties.

Information resources:

I am a transgender woman with prostate cancer

Although prostate cancer is often described as a male cancer (including on this website), the reality is that anyone who was born with a prostate can develop prostate cancer. We’re still learning about the impact that transitional hormones and gender-confirming surgery can have on the risk of prostate cancer. If you have a doctor you trust, that is the best person to talk to about your specific risk. Prostate Cancer Canada also has a very detailed and well-cited page about the effects of gender-confirming surgery and transitional hormones on prostate cancer risk, screening, and diagnosis for trans women.

It can be emotionally difficult to have a male-associated cancer as someone who does not identify as male, especially since most prostate cancer support groups and resources are targeted at men. Consider building a support network of friends, family, or counselors with whom you feel comfortable discussing your prostate cancer diagnosis. Malecare can also connect you with social workers who can help you. Additionally, Prostate Cancer UK is trialing an online support group for trans women.

Although the ZERO website uses male terms and pronouns, they are not meant to exclude transgender women or gender-nonconforming individuals. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, take a look at the rest of our Learn section to gather more information about the disease.

Being out to your doctor

Having a doctor with whom you can be open about your sexual orientation or gender identity is important. Because prostate cancer can affect gay men and transgender women differently than cisgender or straight men, being out to your doctor can help you get the best possible treatment. You can find resources for coming out to your doctor at Human Rights Campaign or consult the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s online Provider Directory.

Support Resources for the LGBTQIA+ Community with Prostate Cancer:

Watch: Prostate Cancer & the Unique Needs of the LGBTQIA+ Community