Sex After Cancer: 97,000 Australian Prostate Cancer Survivors Live With Severe Erectile Dysfunction

18/11/2015 1:17 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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After life-saving prostate surgery, Glen Torr, 63, of Canberra felt there was something missing.

"You can get ungrateful pretty quick," Torr told The Huffington Post Australia.

"My health had improved a lot, I was walking more and had lost weight, really I was grateful to be alive but there was something nagging at me.

"I'd lost my sexual function."

New figures released today by the Cancer Council show Torr is one of the 97,000 Australian prostate cancer survivors currently living with severe and persistent erectile dysfunction as a side effect of treatment.

He said it wasn't an easy thing to come to terms with.

"'For a bloke, there's a hard wired sense that if I can't reproduce, what good am I?"

He found Rekindle -- an online resource about sex and relationships for cancer survivors, developed with the University of Sydney.

"It really turned my life right around," Torr said.

"It's not necessarily something I choose to talk about but if it gets other blokes to look in to it, then it's worth it.

"If you’re suffering on your own, go there on the computer, it’s gentle and encouraging."

He said he and his wife were able to find ways to have a fulfilling sexual relationship.

Cancer Council NSW epidemiologist David Smith said it was important to have conversations about the effects of prostate cancer because more men were being diagnosed than ever before.

"Far more men are now diagnosed with prostate cancer than 10 years ago," Smith said.

"One of big drivers is the fact that the male population is ageing but we're also very good at finding and diagnosing prostate cancer now.

"It's a perfect storm."

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