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How Does Prostate Cancer Affect Your Life

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Sexuality And Prostate Cancer

How Did Prostate Cancer Affect Your Relationships?

Most treatments for prostate cancer cause side effects that can affect your sex life, some more than others. This can have a huge effect on a mans mood, self-esteem and body image. It is important to discuss your concerns with your specialist before treatment starts, so that you are aware of any potential problems.

If you are having problems with your sex life after your treatment is over, ask your doctor or nurse for help. If you have a partner, it also helps to be as open as possible with them about how you are feeling. The Cancer Council Victoria booklet called Sexuality, intimacy and cancer may be helpful to read.

Erection And Your Sex Life

There are three cylindrical bodies that make up the penis. The first one is the corpus spongiosum . It contains the urethra, which includes the head of the penis or glans. The others are the two corpora cavernosa or erectile bodies that extend from the pubic bones to the head of the penis. The structure is a sponge-like tissue and has irregular blood-filled spaces. For a firm erection to occur, this penis anatomy needs to function optimally.

What You Can Do Now

Sexual side effects from prostate cancer treatment are often temporary, especially if your doctor used nerve-sparing surgery. While your body recovers, you can try a few things to maintain your sex life:

  • Let your doctor know about any sexual problems youre having right away. Although it can be hard to talk about sex, being open and honest will help you get the treatment you need.
  • See a therapist. Couples therapy can help you and your partner understand and deal with sexual issues.
  • Take care of yourself by exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep. Looking and feeling your best will give your self-esteem and mood a boost.

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Treating Erectile Dysfunction With Shockwave Therapy

For over four decades, shockwave therapy has been used to treat patients with heart problems, kidney stones, fractures, and joint inflammation. Recently, researchers found that it could help men improve their sex life. Since this discovery, it has become one of the most preferred treatments for ED.

Shockwave therapy uses low-energy frequencies from acoustic waves to trigger a process known as neovascularization in the targeted parts of the body. This will help improve blood flow to the area, which is a critical factor in erectile function. Most of the physical conditions that cause ED typically form plaques that block blood flow to the penile arteries. The therapy combines its repairing and regenerative effects first to remove the plaque and then stimulate a re-growth process of new and healthy blood vessels.

Less Sex For Prostate Cancer Prevention

How Does an Enlarged Prostate Affect Your Life?: Urology ...

Another study published more recently in the same journal found that men who have lots of sex in their twenties and thirties are more likely to get prostate cancer, especially if they masturbate a lot.

This study, done at the University of Nottingham in England, also relied on questionnaires. The study participants included 431 men with prostate cancer diagnosed before age 60 and 409 men without prostate cancer. Among its findings were that men with prostate cancer are more likely to have had female partners, more likely to have had a sexually transmitted disease, and more likely to masturbate.

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Hormone Therapy Can Affect Desire

Changing hormone balance can affect desire. For example, treatment for prostate cancer that has spread beyond the gland often includes hormone therapy to lower testosterone levels. The main ways to do this are:

  • Using drugs to keep testosterone from being made
  • Removing the testicles

The goal of hormone therapy is to starve the prostate cancer cells of testosterone. This slows the growth of the cancer. These treatments have many of the same kinds of sexual side effects, because they affect testosterone levels.

The most common sexual problem with hormone treatment is a decrease in desire for sex . Hormone therapy may also cause other changes, such as loss of muscle mass, weight gain, or some growth in breast tissue. Be sure you understand the possible side effects and what you can do to help manage them. For instance, an exercise program may help you limit muscle loss, weight gain, and tiredness. Talk with your doctor about any exercise program you may have in mind, or ask to be referred to a physical therapist, who can help you decide where to start and what to do.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer usually doesnt cause symptoms in its early stages. In fact, most men dont know they have prostate cancer until it is found during a regular medical exam. When unusual symptoms are noticed, theyre most often problems with urinating. But these same symptoms can also be caused by an enlarged prostate, so its important to talk with your doctor.

Typically, noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer dont occur until the cancer has begun to spread beyond the prostate, or its metastasized to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. At this point, prostate cancer signs and symptoms can include:

  • Not being able to urinate at all
  • Having a hard time starting or stopping the flow of urine
  • Having to urinate often, especially at night
  • Having pain or burning during urination
  • You have difficulty having an erection
  • You have blood in your urine or semen
  • You have deep and frequent pain in your lower back, belly, hip or pelvis

Anytime you experience unusual symptoms especially any of the symptoms mentioned above make an appointment with your family doctor or urologist. They can talk with you about your symptoms, do a physical exam if necessary and work with you to create a treatment plan, if necessary.

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What Are The Main Causes Of Prostate Cancer

The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known. Studies have revealed that prostate cancer occurs when the deoxyribonucleic acid or genetic material of a normal prostate cell undergoes a sudden and abnormal change called a mutation.

The DNA stores all the information required for the normal functioning of cells. It constitutes the oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes . Prostate cancer may result when the oncogenes become overactive or the tumor suppressor genes get turned off in the prostate cells. The abnormality may begin with a single prostate cell that multiplies rapidly to produce many more such cells resulting in uncontrolled growth of prostate cells .

According to researchers, certain conditions can increase the risk for prostate cancer. These include:

What Is Testicular Cancer

What Is a Normal PSA for a Man Without Prostate Cancer? | Ask a Prostate Expert, Mark Scholz, MD

Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer and spread to other parts of the body. To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see What Is Cancer?

Cancer that starts in the testicles is called testicular cancer. To understand this cancer, it helps to know about the normal structure and function of the testicles.

Also Check: Definition Of Prostate

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Can Prostate Cancer Affect Your Sexual Life

Prostate cancer may result in an enlarged prostate that can cause sexual problems in men, such as:

Prostate cancer may cause a sudden onset of erectile dysfunction . Erectile dysfunctions may also occur after the completion of therapy for prostate cancer, including surgery, radiotherapy, and hormonal therapy. Erectile dysfunction may also result due to noncancerous enlargement of the prostate .

Cancer Treatments And Erectile Dysfunction

Following surgery, many men experience erectile dysfunction , but for many, the disruption is temporary. Nerves damaged during surgery may result in erectile dysfunction. A nerve-sparing prostatectomy;may reduce the chances of nerve damage. Another factor is the surgeons skill level for performing the nerve-sparing technique, which if done correctly, may improve patients likelihood of retaining erectile function, says Dr. Shelfo.

Prostate cancer may also be treated with various types of radiation therapybrachytherapy, external beam radiation;or stereotactic body radiation therapy. Each type of therapy causes somewhat different side effects. About half of all prostate cancer patients who undergo any of these types of radiation therapy are likely to develop erectile dysfunction, according to a 2016 article published in Advances in Radiation Oncology.

When you compare surgery with radiation, both may affect erections, says Dr. Shelfo. Surgery is usually more immediate, and sexual dysfunction has the potential with time to improve. With radiation, erections are usually less affected in the beginning, but over timemonths or, sometimes, yearssexual dysfunction may develop. Both treatments may affect sexual function, resulting in no ejaculate or the ability to attain erections.

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Nutrition And Dietary Supplements

Some studies have suggested that eating a healthy diet that is rich in vegetables and lower in animal fats might be helpful, but more research is needed to be sure. However, we do know that a healthy diet can have positive effects on your overall health, with benefits that extend beyond your risk of prostate or other cancers.

So far, no dietary supplements have been shown to clearly help lower the risk of prostate cancer progressing or coming back. In fact, some research has suggested that some supplements, such as selenium, might even be harmful. This doesnt mean that no supplements will help, but its important to know that none have been proven to do so.

Dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines in the United States they do not have to be proven effective before being sold, although there are limits on what theyre allowed to claim they can do. If you are thinking about taking any type of nutritional supplement, talk to your health care team. They can help you decide which ones you can use safely while avoiding those that could be harmful.

A Primer On Prostate Cancer

Obvious Symptoms for Prostate Cancer

Even though prostate cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers in America, on average men have only a three percent risk of actually dying from the disease. Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland, the gland that produces the fluid that makes up semen.;Tumors are often slow-growing and highly treatable. However, patients sometimes experience no symptoms until the cancer has spread. Thus, early detection by your doctor is important. Treatments for prostate cancer include: chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

Its important for you to get your prostate checked. The American Urological Association recommends you discuss the benefits and limitations of these tests with your doctor:

A digital rectal exam ;once a year after age 40, or earlier if you are having symptoms. Although some men consider this test embarrassing, it is a quick, simple procedure that could save your life.A PSA ;blood test once a year for men over 50 or earlier for men in high risk groups, such as African-Americans or those with a family history of prostate problems.

If you have a positive DRE or PSA, your doctor may order a biopsy to determine if cancer is involved.

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Treatment Of Enlarged Prostate And Ed

While an enlarged prostate can cause ED, there are treatment options available to you to facilitate normal sexual function. Luckily many forms of enlarged prostate-associated erectile dysfunction are treatable, and by tackling the underlying problem of an enlarged prostate, many men can restore or greatly improve their sexual performance.;

What Have I Learned By Reading This

You learned about:

  • Why prostate cancer treatment can cause erectile dysfunction
  • What can be done about erectile dysfunction
  • How erectile dysfunction may affect your sex life
  • What your partner can expect

If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor or health care team. It is important that you understand what is going on with your prostate cancer treatment. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control. It will also help you manage any side effects you may have from your treatment.

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Can I Lower The Risk Of Prostate Cancer Progressing Or Coming Back

If you have prostate cancer, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk of the cancer growing or coming back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. While there are some things you can do that might be helpful, more research is needed to know for sure.

When A Cure For Your Prostate Cancer Isnt Possible

Does Sugar Increase Prostate Cancer Risk?

If the cancer has spread and it is not possible to cure it with surgery, your doctor may still recommend treatment that focuses on improving quality of life by relieving the symptoms . Medications can be used to relieve pain, nausea and vomiting. The Cancer Council Victoria booklet called Living with advanced cancer may be helpful to read.

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Should I Get Prostate Cancer Screening

You may have wondered why there is no nationwide prostate cancer screening program in Australia . Thats because experts do not recommend routine prostate cancer screening if youre aged between 50 and 69, healthy, and dont have a family history of prostate cancer.

There are several reasons for this:

  • A high PSA level can be a result of something other than cancer.
  • Experts dont fully agree on what is a normal or abnormal PSA level.
  • Most men with a slightly raised PSA level have a biopsy that confirms no cancer.
  • Many prostate cancers are low risk, slow growing, and are unlikely to cause harm if left untreated.
  • Testing and treating low risk, slow growing cancers may cause more harm than good.

You should speak to your doctor if you have a family history or ongoing symptoms of prostate cancer, such as difficulty passing urine. Your doctor can help you make an informed decision about whether prostate cancer screening is suitable for you.

Transrectal Magnetic Resonance Imaging

This test is done to see whether the cancer has spread to other tissues that are nearby apart from the prostate. The test uses radio waves, a magnet, and a computer to create pictures of your bodys internal parts. This test uses a probe that is inserted inside your rectum. Through this test, your doctor can see your prostate and the tissues nearby.

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What Increases The Risk Of Getting Prostate Cancer

Four main risk factors increase a mans chance of developing prostate cancer. If you feel you have any risk factors for developing prostate cancer, you should speak to your doctor.

AgeAge is the biggest risk factor for prostate cancer. In Europe, prostate cancer is commonly diagnosed in men over 65, but it can happen in younger men.

EthnicityBlack men have twice the risk of developing prostate cancer than white men. Asian men, on the other hand, have a lower risk. It is unknown why a mans ethnicity or race increases or lowers his prostate cancer risk.

Family historyWe all inherit our genes from our parents. Some prostate cancers may be linked to genes passed from generation to generation by either parent. Although a mans risk of developing prostate cancer increases if he has a family history, most men who get prostate cancer do not have a family history.

Genes: Genes are made of DNA. They contain information that determines our traits. For example, having red hair is a genetic trait passed from generation to generation.

If you have close family members diagnosed with prostate cancer under the age of 60 and are concerned about your risk, speak to your doctor.

Processed foods: Processed foods include ready meals, takeaways, savoury snacks, cakes, and biscuits.

Obese: Obese means you are very overweight, with a lot of body fat, which puts you at risk of serious health problems.

Types Of Prostate Cancer

How Prostate Cancer Affects Your Sex Life

There are two prostate cancer types; aggressive prostate cancer and non-aggressive prostate cancer. Aggressive prostate cancer is also known as fast-growing prostate cancer. In this type of cancer, the tumour grows rapidly and is highly likely to spread to other areas of your body like your bones. In non-aggressive or slow-growing prostate cancer, tumour growth is much slower. In certain cases, there is no tumour growth over time in non-aggressive prostate cancer.

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Sexuality And Feeling Good About Your Body

Prostate cancer treatment can often affect sexual function. Learning to be comfortable with your body during and after prostate cancer treatment is a personal journey, one that is different for everyone. Information and support can help you cope with these changes over time. Learn more in Sex and;the Man With Cancer.

Is Erectile Dysfunction Treatable

Though erectile dysfunction is a major concern for the affected men, the good news is that it can be easily and successfully treated. Due to the advancement in urological medicine, there are now available multiple treatment options for ED. To determine the best method in your own case, you will need first to consult your doctor. The underlying cause will mainly determine the appropriate treatment. Some of the common ED treatments are:

  • Oral medication

  • Non-surgical extracorporeal shockwave therapy

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Incontinence And Sexual Recovery In Prostate Cancer

The fear of urine leaking, smelling of urine, bowel accidents and having to use diapers is humiliating to many men. In fact, urinary incontinence has been rated a more bothersome outcome than ED. There are some men who begin to shun social contact. This social withdrawal is often mistaken for a major depression and this situation, however, if disregarded can lead to significant anxiety and depression, which may then need to be treated by anxiolytics or antidepressants. Both supportive psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can assist a man in coping with these changes in lifestyle. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term, present-focused psychotherapy aimed at examining and altering distorted, maladaptive thoughts about oneself and their environment, whereas supportive psychotherapy is a modality with less focus where more open-ended support is provided. In order to help men cope with this symptom it is important to identify the etiology of incontinence and educate patients and families about this problem, and offer ideas to alleviate or reduce symptoms. Urinary incontinence can be alleviated with pelvic muscle reeducation, bladder training, anticholinergic medications and even artificial sphincter surgery.

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