Can Anything Be Done For Erectile Dysfunction Caused By Prostate Cancer Treatment
Yes, there are things you can try if you have erectile dysfunction after your prostate cancer treatment. You should keep in mind that the following things will affect your ability to have an erection after your prostate cancer treatment:
- How good your erections were before your treatment
- Other medical conditions you have like high blood pressure or diabetes
- Some types of medicines you may take such as medicines for high blood pressure or antidepressants
- Things you do in your life such as drinking or smoking
- Your age
- The type of prostate cancer treatment you had
It is important that you and your partner speak with your doctor or healthcare team about what you can do. Your doctor or healthcare team will speak with you about what might work best for you if you have erectile dysfunction. It is important that you speak with them since some treatments for erectile dysfunction can affect other medical problems you may have.
Types of treatment for erectile dysfunction include:
When Is Radiation Therapy Used
There are some instances where the practitioners opt for radiotherapy for prostate cancer as opposed to other forms of treatment. Here are some of the situations in which radiation therapy may be used:
- As the first treatment of cancer, which is still confined to the prostate gland.
- It is used along with hormone therapy during the first treatment for prostate cancer that has extended the nearby tissues.
- After the reoccurrence of cancer in the area, it was before surgery.
- To keep cancer under control and relieve you from the symptoms for as long as possible if the cancer is advanced.
Are There Differences Between Orp Lrp And Ralrp
According to a 2010 of different surgery types for prostate cancer, the outcomes for open radical prostatectomy , laparoscopic , and robotic-assisted prostatectomy are not significantly different.
But people who choose LRP and RALRP may experience:
- less blood loss
- shorter hospital stay
- faster recovery time
Also, people who choose RALRP report faster recovery in continence and decreased hospital stay, in comparison to LRP. But the overall outcomes still depend on the surgeons experience and skill.
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What Does The Prostate Do
The prostate is a male gland that releases prostate fluid, one of the components of semen.
The muscles of the prostate gland help propel this fluid into the urethra during ejaculation.
It is a muscular gland that is often described as walnut or small apricot-sized.
An enlarged prostate can be a sign of prostate cancer, the third biggest cancer killer.
Prostate Removal: 8 Things To Know
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Reducing The Risk Of Erectile Dysfunction
To minimise your risk of impotence following the operation, any factors that might predispose you to erection problems should be addressed beforehand. Such risk factors include:
- obesity and
Your doctor will assess your risk and offer treatment or advice if necessary. They will also make sure that you are not taking any medicines that could contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Treatment For Prostate Cancer
The radiation used to destroy cancer cells can also hurt normal cells in the nearby area. Side effects from radiation treatment are related to the area of the body being treated. Patients start to have side effects a few weeks into their treatment. While side effects may be unpleasant, there are treatments to help deal with them. Most side effects are temporary and slowly start to go away once treatment is done.
You will be seen by your radiation oncology providers often during treatment. These visits are a chance to ask questions and to talk about any side effects and how to best manage them. You can also call your providers to speak about any side effects.
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How Erectile Dysfunction Affects Patients With Prostate Cancer
Regardless of whether the nerves were spared during surgery or whether the most precise dose planning was used during radiation therapy, nearly all men will experience some erectile dysfunction for the first few months after treatment. The reason for this is simple: the nerves and blood vessels that control the physical aspect of an erection are incredibly delicate, and any trauma to the area will result in changes to the natural order, explain the Prostate Cancer Foundation regarding the causes for erectile dysfunction in prostate cancer patients.
Erectile dysfunction can, however, vary and about 40 to 50% of patients with intact nerves start to see improvements a year after the treatment. After two years, about 30 to 60% of the patients are expected to return to their normal function before the treatment. However, not all treatments can spare the patients nerves. In the case of radiation therapy, erectile dysfunction is not a such common side effect, affecting only about 50% of the patients, while in the case of brachytherapy, between 25 and 50% of the patients are affected. Erectile dysfunction not only affects patients sexual life, but can also cause emotional problems.
Pelvic Radiation Therapy Effect On Erections
Prostate, bladder, colon, and rectal cancer are sometimes treated with radiation to the pelvis. This can cause problems with erections. The higher the total dose of radiation and the wider the section of the pelvis treated, the greater the chance of erection problems later. If radiation therapy is part of your treatment plan, talk to your doctor before it starts. Ask how your arteries and nerves might be affected by radiation therapy so you know what to expect.
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Types Of Prostate Surgery
There are several ways of removing the prostate keyhole surgery either by hand or robot-assisted, and open surgery.
Although robot-assisted keyhole surgery is the newest technique, the most recent research suggests all three techniques are as good as each other for treating prostate cancer, as long as the surgeon is experienced. They also have similar rates of side effects.
The advantages of keyhole surgery, both by hand and robot-assisted, are that you are likely to lose less blood, have less pain, spend less time in hospital, and heal more quickly than with open surgery.
Keyhole surgery .
- Robot-assisted keyhole surgery Your surgeon makes five or six small cuts in your lower abdomen and a slightly bigger cut near your belly button, and removes the prostate using special surgical tools. These include a thin, lighted tube with a small camera on the tip. The image will appear on a screen so the surgeon can see what theyre doing. Your surgeon controls the tools from a console in the operating room via four or five robotic arms. Although its called robot-assisted, its still a surgeon who does the operation. You may hear the equipment called the da Vinci® Robot.
- Keyhole surgery by hand As with robot-assisted keyhole surgery, the surgeon will make four or five small cuts in your abdomen. But they will hold the surgical tools in their hands, rather than using robotic arms.
Life After Prostate Cancer Treatment
Adjusting to life after prostate cancer treatment can take time. For some men, the emotional impact of what they have been through may not hit them until they have finished treatment. For others, working through the physical side effects is their immediate focus.
Although prostate cancer treatment can be lifesaving, it can also take a toll on the body. This can result in a disruption to normal urinary, bowel and sexual function.
Whether you have surgery, radiation or hormone therapy, you are likely to have side effects.
“It’s important to talk with your health care provider about these side effects before you start treatment, so you can learn about the range of options to treat them,” says Anne Calvaresi, DNP, CRNP, RNFA, Urology Nurse Practitioner at the Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
Enlarged Prostate Surgery: The Real Risks And Side Effects
Enlarged prostate surgery unfortunately has real risks and side effects that are often downplayed or minimized by urologists making you the guinea pig with very possible impotence and incontinence as a result.
Furthermore, you will often have to repeat the operation later on as your prostate continues to grow because the real causes of this prostate disease have not been addressed by radical surgeries.
Also known as a TURP surgery or BPH surgery, this is the gold standard of prostate surgeries for enlarged prostate symptoms.
TURP stands for Transurethral Resection of the Prostate. The surgery consists of passing a flexible instrument up your penis and into the prostate gland to shave off pieces of the prostate.
The bloody pieces are removed allowing more space for the urethra tube to pass urine from your bladder.
The operation is done under anesthesia… and you will usually spend a couple of days recovering. You will have to wear a catheter for some time while you heal, and then it can be removed.
It would be great if that was all there was to it. Yet, it’s not so simple…
What Are The Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects Of A Prostatectomy
The primary prostate cancer treatment side effects after a radical prostatectomy are incontinence and erectile dysfunction. These side effects are a product of the location of the prostate and the type of surgery performed. The prostate gland lies deep within the pelvis behind the pubic bone and in front of the rectum. The urinary bladder lies just above the prostate, the urinary sphincter control muscle is located just below it, and the erectile nerves lie just outside the prostate on either side. A patients age and overall health also influence the potential risks of radical prostatectomy just as it does with any major operation. Such risks include cardiac or pulmonary events, infections, blood clots, or injuries to structures around the prostate.
Following surgery, all men will have some urinary leakage. A good amount of bladder control is often regained within 12 weeks and continues to improve over 12 months. Multiple studies have shown that there is often a several month interval before a patient recovers normal erections, even with bilateral nerve-sparing surgery. Advantages to the Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy technique are a reduced risk of intra-operative bleeding and a shortened hospital stay.
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Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the lymph nodes, liver and lungs and other organs.
A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Radiation Therapy
Radiation, focused as a beam, can be used to kill cancer cells, especially those cells that have migrated from the prostate gland. Beams of radiation can be used to reduce bone pain caused by invasive cancer cells.
Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy
In another type of radiation therapy termed low dose rate brachytherapy, radioactive pellets about the size of a grain of rice are inserted into the prostate.
High Dose Rate Brachytherapy
High dose rate brachytherapy applies more radioactive sources temporarily into the cancerous prostate gland.
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Sex After Surgery To The Prostate Gland
When your prostate gland is removed, you will still make sperm, but it wonât come out through your penis. It will be absorbed back into the body. You may also have problems with erections or lose interest in sex after prostate surgery. Although you may feel embarrassed, doctors who deal with prostate cancer are very used to talking about these issues and will be able to give you advice. There are treatments that can help with this.
Things You Should Expect After Prostate Surgery
Prostate removal is a major type of surgery and requires time for the body to recover. Even though robotic prostatectomy using the Da Vinci robot has less severe effects on the body and the patient can leave the hospital the same day, men should expect some changes in order to know how to deal with them. The surgery is performed through small incisions that are barely sensitive at the incision sites and the scar tissue is almost unnoticeable. Typically, the recovery is fast, most men are able to go home the next day and resume driving and working in two to three weeks after the surgery.
In the immediate hours after surgery:
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The Success Rate Of Prostate Surgery
Survival rates can tell you how many people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed. For example, if you have stage 3 colon cancer, there is a 66% chance that 5 years later, you will be alive. But the rates cannot tell you how long you will live. However, they may help give you an idea of how likely your treatment will be successful.
Survival rates are estimates. They are based on data from many people who have had cancer before. These numbers might be confusing because they dont tell you what will happen, but they can help doctors decide treatments. Talk with your doctor to see if these statistics apply to you because they know about your situation.
A relative survival rate tells how likely a person is to survive a particular type of cancer. I.e., if the 5-year close survival rate for prostate cancer is 90%, it means that men who have this type of cancer are about 90% as likely as other men to live a minimum of 5 years after being diagnosed with the disease.
Should I Make Any Lifestyle Changes Including In My Diet Or Physical Activity
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and staying physically active, can help your overall health. These lifestyle changes can also have a positive effect for men with bone metastases, Tagawa says. Both diet and exercise, he says, are things that are under a mans direct control.
A healthy lifestyle can help you better manage side effects from treatment as well. Try setting small but realistic goals for yourself when it comes to eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise.
While no single food is likely to have a benefit for prostate cancer, smart food choices may help you feel better day to day. Start by cutting out foods high in sugar, saturated fat, and added flavorings and preservatives.
If youre not sure which healthy foods to choose, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian. This specialist can help you develop a meal plan that includes foods that offer the best chance of slowing the cancers growth and keeping you as healthy as possible.
As an oncologist, Tagawa says he concentrates on treating the cancer itself, but hes aware that many of the men he sees with advanced prostate cancer are older and more likely than younger men to have health problems that can benefit from diet and exercise.
And if youre on hormone therapy, talk to your doctor about investing in some weights or elastic resistance bands to support your bone strength too.
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Can Erectile Dysfunction Be Treated
There are several treatment and management options for erectile dysfunction. However, your ability to have an erection after prostate cancer treatment can be affected by several things:
- How good your erections were before treatment
- Other medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
- Other medicines you may take
- Your lifestyle, drinking, or smoking
- The type of treatment you had
Risks Of Prostate Surgery
The risks with any type of radical prostatectomy are much like those of any major surgery. Problems during or shortly after the operation can include:
- Reactions to anesthesia
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
- Damage to nearby organs
- Infections at the surgery site.
Rarely, part of the intestine might be injured during surgery, which could lead to infections in the abdomen and might require more surgery to fix. Injuries to the intestines are more common with laparoscopic and robotic surgeries than with the open approach.
If lymph nodes are removed, a collection of lymph fluid can form and may need to be drained.
In extremely rare cases, a man can die because of complications of this operation. Your risk depends, in part, on your overall health, your age, and the skill of your surgical team.
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