One out of every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their life time; hence this is the most common cancer among men. The prostate cancer affects the walnut-shaped gland wrapping around the men’s urethra.
Can prostate cancer affect your sexual life?
For most men, prostate cancer does not affect their sexual life. Most symptoms of the prostate cancer are related to the urine output. This is because the prostate gland begins to obstruct the urethra, the tube carrying urine out of the body. With changes to the urine flow, there can be blood in the urine. Most men with prostate cancer do not get symptoms at the early stages of the disease.
Often the first time most people know that they have prostate cancer is after other symptoms have been caused due to the spreading of cancer to the bone. Although it is uncommon, but some men with prostate cancer have erection difficulties related to the disease itself.
Can prostate cancer treatments affect your sexual life?
Usually prostate cancer itself does not affect your sexual life. However, it can be usual for men to feel depressed while undergoing prostate cancer treatments. Worries about prostate cancer mean relationship stress or less interest in sex. These problems may improve and there can be psychological support surrounding cancer. There are many treatments for the prostate cancer including monitoring any developments that may need active treatments later. This approach is known as watchful waiting or active surveillance. It doesn’t cause any sex problems.
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Men having active treatments for prostate cancer such as surgery, hormone therapy and radiation therapy have problems with sex. These problems include loss of interest in sex and an inability to get an erection, infertility, orgasm and ejaculation and bowel problems and anal sex.
Your diagnosis of a prostate cancer and its treatments can cause a loss of interest in sex and this is known as low libido or sex drive. The nerve which helps the men to control erections run close to the prostate gland. This raises the challenge to protect the nerves from damage during treatment of the nearby prostate gland. The surgery to completely remove the prostate gland is a risk for the erectile dysfunction due to the potential nerve damage. This surgery is known as a total prostatectomy or radical prostatectomy. The later is not appropriate for all men with prostate cancer instead it is reserved for men with more aggressive prostate cancer which is likely to grow or spread and in younger men.
The prostate gland can be removed in a number of surgical ways:
- Open surgery in which the surgeon creates an opening in the belly or the area between the testicles and the anus
- Keyhole surgery in which the prostate is removed via a small wound, and the surgeon is guided by a camera
Both these surgical options are similarly effective. The keyhole surgery may mean less bleeding and less time in the hospital than open the surgery. The keyhole surgery to remove the prostate gland when done with the help of a robot is known as da Vinci surgery. This is the most recent development in the keyhole surgery for the prostate cancer. Surgery is one of the riskiest treatments in terms of the erectile dysfunction. Other options including Cryotherapy in which probes are used to freeze the prostate cancer cells are also risky.
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The prostate cancer treatments can also affect your erections. You might not be able to have children after the prostate cancer treatment. Some prostate cancer treatments can have an effect on the orgasms and ejaculation. Radiotherapy to the prostate gland can cause diarrhea, and pain and irritation in the anal region. The hormonal therapy carries the risk of erection problems, affect the fertility and cause the loss of libido.
Often the sexual side effects from prostate cancer are temporary while your surgeon used the nerve sparing surgery. Talk to your doctor and let him know about any sexual problems you are having right away. Contact Forerunners Healthcare to get your prostate cancer surgery and treatments from the best surgeons at the top hospitals in India.