Embodied masculinity and androgen deprivation therapy


Address for correspondence: John Oliffe, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, 302–6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3 e-mail: oliffe@nursing.ubc.ca


This paper describes the findings from an ethnographic study of 16 Anglo-Australian men treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for advanced prostate cancer. Utilising a social constructionist gendered analysis, participants’ experiences, particularly in relation to embodied masculinity, are described in the context of reduced testosterone that accompany ADT. The findings indicated that participants reformulated many ideals of hegemonic masculinity in response to functional body changes. However, hegemonic masculinity strongly influenced participants’ philosophical resolve to ‘fight’ prostate cancer. The findings are considered in broader ongoing debates about essentialist sex and the social construction of gender.