Is Erectile Dysfunction Common After Prostate Cancer Treatment?

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Very. So when I operate on patients for prostrate cancer, I tell them before the surgery that they probably won't have any erectile function for at least six months after the surgery, but then gradually might come back, it might take up to a year might take a year and a half, it might not ever come back after prostate surgery. It also depends when you do prostrate surgery whether you can spare the nerves that give you erectile function during the surgery. Prostrate sits right on two nerves that mediate erectile function, so when you take the prostate out, these two nerves you want to them to stay behind untouched, but the prostrate sits right on those nerves. So as you do the surgery you might burn the nerves, you might clip them, you might stretch them, it might be that the cancer is so advanced that they've invaded into the nerves, we have to take the nerves out to do a proper prostrate cancer surgery.

So most men have some decrement in their erectile function at the prostrate cancer services. So other treatments for prostrate cancer like radiation therapy also impacts on erectile functions because the radiation being hits the nerves that give you erections. Another common treatment for prostrate cancer is hormone therapy, so prostrate cancer loves testosterone.

One treatment for prostrate cancer is to make a patient castrated either surgically by taking away the testicles or medically by giving them injections that cause their testosterone levels to be castrated, so by doing that you're going to make them not have any erections either so virtually any treatment that you have of prostate cancer is going to have a major impact on your erectile function.