Thursday, 18 August 2016

Cancer: Losing My Religion

My treatment will most likely leave me infertile, and as a gay 20-year-old, I hadn’t thought too much about my desire to have children just yet, so this news is a little unsettling. I’ve long understood that I’ll never procreate in a typical heterosexual relationship, but the sense of being “incomplete” because you’re unable to procreate in the usual way is something a lot of patients talk about. I spent some time discussing infertility with a Muslim patient who was on my ward and, to him, losing the ability to procreate has disrupted his expected family plans, and makes him feel he’s letting his parents down. Another patient I spoke to was concerned about what future girlfriends would say about his manhood.

Cancer has made me rethink what masculinity means to me and others, and I’ve had to adapt to suit this temporary identity. I am less independent, but more driven than ever. While cancer seems to change and compromise the identity of many men, what really needs to change is our understanding of what it means to be a “real man”.

Moving piece in The Guardian by Dean Eastmond.

Oh cancer UP YOURS!

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