Elvin is sitting on a bed, looking at the camera and smiling. He is holiday a white board with questions about cancer written on it.

Elvin on how having a prostatectomy has affected his sex life

Published: 14 March 2024

66-year-old Elvin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2016. He had a prostatectomy and is now cancer free. But he has had many side effects that have affected his sex life. Elvin was not fully aware of how this treatment would affect him sexually. He had to find information for himself and found that other men  were often not willing to talk about how they had been impacted by cancer. 

Elvin spoke to us as part of our We need to talk about sex and cancer campaign.


Meet Elvin

I was blissfully unaware of any symptoms of prostate cancer. In fact, the only symptom I was aware of was the need to go for a ‘wee’ more often than ‘usual’. Whatever ‘usual’ is? And even then, I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t know anything about the prostate. I didn’t know where it was, why I had it and what would change if I didn’t have it!  

I give prostate cancer awareness talks to help men and women know what the key symptoms of prostate cancer are and what the prostate does. Early detection is absolutely vital. As I was to find out, quite simply it is the difference between life and death. 

“I was so uneducated about prostate cancer and the treatment available, plus the potential side effects that include loss of erection”

I was so uneducated about prostate cancer and the treatment available, plus the potential side effects that include loss of erections, reduced libido and bladder and bowel problems. So I was totally overawed by the amount of information I had to take in. I was reeling from the shock of being diagnosed with cancer and my wife and I had to make a life changing decision on the treatment.  And be quick about it!  

Boys should be taught at school about the prostate, what it does and why it should be treated with respect whilst you are blessed with it. Also, the quicker men appreciate and fully understand the very real danger of prostate cancer the better. 

"What blew me away was how the life threatening experience affected me so deeply on an emotional and mental level."

What shocked me was that the life-threatening experience affected me so deeply on an emotional and mental level. I did seek counselling through a scheme my company at the time had and it was really helpful. I had become angry and aggressive because my self-confidence had taken such a knock. I was not only coming to terms with being diagnosed with a life threatening condition, but also not being able to get an erection and the constant struggle with leaking urine. 

Now getting erections require careful planning and drug treatments. Do I feel less of a man? Yes, I still do to a degree. I love my wife with a deep and wild passion. We fell in love when we were at school. She has been my rock and without her I would have tumbled into self-pity and total negativity.