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First Gay-Bi Men’s Prostate Cancer Treatment Study Launched By MORGAN WRIGHT

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be very frightening. There’s the fear and stigma that goes with having cancer, plus treatment can have major effects on men’s sexual and urinary function. When you’re gay or bisexual, you can also feel very isolated both from other gay men and from straight men with prostate cancer. As Dr. Simon Rosser, principal investigator of the Restore study, explains, “When my husband was diagnosed, I couldn’t believe so little was known about prostate cancer in gay men. After all, this is the most common cancer affecting all men, including us. But we don’t talk about it, many clinics feel very heterosexual, and for many of us, prostate cancer carries a stigma. We can feel old, sexually broken, and alone.” Now, that’s about to change. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have teamed up with gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer to develop a rehabilitation program designed specifically for our community. The Restore I team spent two years interviewing gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer. Those interviews, combined with a comprehensive survey, documented the effects of treatment. They found that while gay and bi men have similar challenges to heterosexual men, there are some additional challenges as well. Most men reported urinary incontinence, with almost half of the participants reporting some urine problems during sex. Weak or no erections, no ejaculation, and difficulties in receptive sex were almost universal problems. It also became clear that there was no standard treatment for these very common symptoms. While some doctors did recommend treatments, the recommendations were all over the board. As Dr. Rosser notes, “We need to know what works and doesn’t work in helping men restore their function. An evidence-based, rehabilitation program that works for gay and bisexual men will transform treatment.”

The resulting study, RESTORE II, an evaluation of the treatment of prostate cancer side effects in gay and bisexual men, is now recruiting participants. To Dr. Rosser, this is among the most exciting studies funded by NIH. “It’s both and honor and truly exciting to be part of the first study in an area. This kind of research really takes a team effort. Our team includes a urologist, oncologist, urinary specialist, gay sex experts, computer scientist, psychologist, statistician, health communication folk, online interventionist, social worker, support network, nurse and clinician. Together, we have developed a start-of-the art, rehabilitation curriculum based on gay and bisexual men’s experience in treatment. Now, we need to test if and how it works. A major challenge in prostate cancer treatment is that rehabilitation takes time. For that reason, participants in this study will be followed for two years. As is common in a randomized controlled study, half the participants will receive the new treatment – a combination of drugs, behavioral exercises, an online guide to good gay sex following prostate cancer treatment, individual coaching and social support; while half will be asked to continue whatever they have been doing up to now. “This study is designed to test what works in improving treatment for gay and bisexual men. We have an amazing opportunity to advance treatment, not just for gay men, but potentially for all men with prostate cancer,” says Rosser. The study is enrolling guys right now. Rosser adds, “The best way to get into contact with my team is through phone or email. You can contact us by calling 612-568-8860 or send an email to “ The Restore Study is a National Institutes of Health- funded study through the University of Minnesota. Reach out through email ( or phone number (612-568-8860)

Are you a gay or bisexual man who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer? Join the first study on prostate cancer rehabilitation designed for and by our community.

Visit to learn more and take the eligibility survey Email: Phone: 612-568-8860 NIH grant #1RO1CA218657-01

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