To Live, To Love, To Desire...To Die

Peyla, L; Dudoit, E; Grob, JJ

Peyla, L; Grob, JJ (reprint author), AP HM, Serv Dermatol & Cancerol Cutanee, F-13385 Marseille, France.; Dudoit, E (reprint author), AP HM, Serv Oncol Med & Soins Palliatifs, F-13385 Marseille, France.

PSYCHO-ONCOLOGIE, 2017; 11 (1): 21


Aims: If cancer undoubtedly alters and bruises the body of the patients, emasculation remains unusual. In social beliefs, castration always seems to be the victim of its representation, and this is why we chose to talk about Patrick, aged 74 years. Procedure: Clinical interviews, carried out within the DACCORD, led to a heuristic case study. A dual analysis, both psychosocial and psychopathological, allows a phenomenological analysis of this patient. Results: Patrick's psychological story unfolds mainly around the effects of cancer on his intimate life. He describes himself as a sexually active person, fully living his desires and fantasies. However, the recurrence of the cancer in his penis "condemns" him and it means he can no longer act out his desires and fantasies. Patrick is emasculated, that is, he is deprived of his sexual organs. Any genital sexuality becomes immediately impossible. Moreover, when a team of care givers discusses his case, he is sometimes referred to as a "strange" person who has desires and disturbing fantasies about them because he looks at them not only as professionals in white coats, but also as desirable women. His emasculation effectively deprives him of his sexual organs but it does not deprive him of his fantasies. Yet, in the eyes of all, Patrick is no longer a man: by "removing" his appendages, he has been deprived of his virility. The absence of his genital attribute induces, in fact, an absence of desire towards others. Conclusion: The story of Patrick touches us all, and it even upsets us. It reminds us that castration remains possible; it can even take place in real life. However, this reality unfolds in a Western society where genital sexuality and sexuality are confused.

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