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.
Side Effects From Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer, known as androgen deprivation therapy , suppresses production of testosterone. ADT can cause several side effects. These include fatigue, hot flashes, decreased bone density, ED, depressed mood, decreased sex drive, weight gain, heart risks, breast growth and cognitive decline.
The severity and length of side effects depend on how long treatment lasts. “If a man has only six months of treatment, their level of testosterone rises again, and they’ll go back to feeling like themselves,” Calvaresi said.
Often, mood changes in men on ADT are caused by other side effects such as weight gain and hot flashes. “If we can manage those other side effects, then often that improves mood,” she said. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly often helps to decrease fatigue, prevent weight gain and improve overall mood. Before beginning hormone therapy, you should discuss the effects of ADT with your doctor, and talk about how you can change your exercise and eating habits to help head off side effects before they occur.
Side Effects From Radiation
Urinary symptoms from radiation treatment for prostate cancer are different from those caused by prostate surgery. “It’s more like a urinary tract infection-increased urgency and frequency, and men may some have bleeding or pain when they urinate,” Calvaresi said. These problems often go away once treatment is complete.
Radiation also may cause bowel changes, such as constipation, loose stools or both. These can be managed by over-the-counter medication. Men may also see some blood in their stool during treatment-if so, let your health care provider know about this.
Men undergoing radiation are likely to have ED, but not immediately. “It slowly sets in after radiation treatment,” Calvaresi said. Treatments for radiation-related ED are the same as ED caused by prostate cancer surgery.
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One Month After Surgery
After a month, most men will be able to return to work, and their operation site will be near healing. Despite this, its recommended that men refrain from strenuous activity, prolonged activity, or activities that may disrupt the operation site for at least 6 weeks.
Some examples of these activities are:
Running Also, try not to sit in one position for longer than 45 minutes.
Ask Your Doctor For A Survivorship Care Plan
Talk with your doctor about developing a survivorship care plan for you. This plan might include:
- A summary of the treatment you received
- A suggested schedule for follow-up exams and tests
- A schedule for other tests you might need in the future, such as early detection tests for other types of cancer, or tests to look for long-term health effects from your cancer or its treatment
- A list of possible late- or long-term side effects from your treatment, including what to watch for and when you should contact your doctor
- Suggestions for things you can do that might improve your health, including possibly lowering your chances of the cancer coming back
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Facts Every Man Should Know Before Prostate Cancer Surgery
Many men want to know what prostate cancer surgery is like, including what to expect before surgery and what to expect afterwards.
Here are my findings based upon more than 1,000 phone calls to men the day before surgery, almost 700 visits to men the day after surgery and hundreds of calls from men in the weeks following surgery.
Dealing With Bph Since 2003
Based on the experience of 2003, I will never again have a prostate biopsy. Since having my left cancerous kidney removed in April of 2015, the condition of my prostate has been monitored by more PSA tests and semi-annual prostate sonograms. My new urologist has me on the drug Avodart containing dutasteride to help shrink the prostate and another, Harnal containing tamsulosin hydrochloride, which makes it easier for me to urinate during the night.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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Will I Be Incontinent
Some patients have full urinary control as soon as the catheter is removed. Most patients experience some urinary leakage, which clears up in an average of three weeks but can take as long as 18 months. Small incontinence pads may be worn during this time to absorb any leaking urine and protect your clothing. For one out of 20 men, leakage may persist longer or even be permanent.
We define incontinence as needing more than two pads a day, says Dr. Mohler. Four out of five men wont need any pads at all. One in five will need one to two mini pads per day. One in 100 will end up needing more than two pads per day. This has a devastating effect on quality of life for these men. We dont fully understand why this happens, and we cannot predict who will have this experience. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises before and after your operation may help you avoid or recover from problems with urinary control.
Sexual And Reproductive Health
You can be sexually active during your radiation therapy, unless your radiation oncologist gives you other instructions. You wont be radioactive or pass radiation to anyone else.
If youre sexually active with someone whos able to get pregnant, its important to use birth control during and for 1 year after your radiation therapy. During your radiation therapy, your sperm may be damaged by the radiation. If you conceive a baby with this sperm, the baby might have birth defects. Using birth control helps prevent this.
For more information about your sexual health during cancer treatment, read the resource Sex and Your Cancer Treatment. The American Cancer Society also has resources about sexual health issues during cancer treatment. The one for men is called Sex and the Adult Male with Cancer. You can search for it at www.cancer.org or call for a copy.
Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program
MSKs Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program helps people address the impact of their disease and treatment on sexual health. You can meet with a specialist before, during, or after your treatment. We can give you a referral, or you can call for an appointment.
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Will I Have A Catheter
When you wake up after surgery you will have a urinary catheter. A catheter is put in after you have been put to sleep. If you have never had a catheter before, catheters are a tube inserted through your urethra into your bladder to drain urine. The catheter will be connected to a bag that is taped to your leg. Have loose-fitting clothes like sweat pants or shorts for when you leave the hospital to accommodate the catheter. Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will show you how to use the catheter. You will probably need to keep the catheter in for a week or two. Removal of a catheter is usually done at the doctors office after the prescribed frame and is relatively pain-free.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Prostate Surgery
Depending on the type of surgery the recovery time after prostate surgery may linger up to several months. This length refers to a complete healing process. Patients may feel better the very day after the surgery but they need to realize that their body will fully recover only after certain period of time.
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Transurethral Resection Of The Prostate
This operation is more often used to treat men with non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia . But it is also sometimes used in men with advanced prostate cancer to help relieve symptoms, such as trouble urinating.
During this operation, the surgeon removes the inner part of the prostate gland that surrounds the urethra . The skin is not cut with this surgery. An instrument called a resectoscope is passed through the tip of the penis into the urethra to the level of the prostate. Once it is in place, either electricity is passed through a wire to heat it or a laser is used to cut or vaporize the tissue. Spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia is used.
The operation usually takes about an hour. After surgery, a catheter is inserted through the penis and into the bladder. It remains in place for about a day to help urine drain while the prostate heals. You can usually leave the hospital after 1 to 2 days and return to normal activities in 1 to 2 weeks.
You will probably have some blood in your urine after surgery.
Other possible side effects from TURP include infection and any risks that come with the type of anesthesia used.
Use In Men Who Might Have Prostate Cancer
The PSA blood test is used mainly to screen for prostate cancer in men without symptoms. Its also one of the first tests done in men who have symptoms that might be caused by prostate cancer.
PSA in the blood is measured in units called nanograms per milliliter . The chance of having prostate cancer goes up as the PSA level goes up, but there is no set cutoff point that can tell for sure if a man does or doesnt have prostate cancer. Many doctors use a PSA cutoff point of 4 ng/mL or higher when deciding if a man might need further testing, while others might recommend it starting at a lower level, such as 2.5 or 3.
- Most men without prostate cancer have PSA levels under 4 ng/mL of blood. Still, a level below 4 is not a guarantee that a man doesnt have cancer.
- Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer.
- If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.
If your PSA level is high, you might need further tests to look for prostate cancer.
To learn more about how the PSA test is used to look for cancer, including factors that can affect PSA levels, special types of PSA tests, and what the next steps might be if you have an abnormal PSA level, see Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer.
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Biopsy: Things You Need To Know
The first thing you should know is that theres still plenty of room for confusion after a biopsy. The prostate in a young man is about the size of a walnut with age and BPH it can get bigger think of a lime, or a lemon, or even an orange. Now, imagine that you have about 14 tiny needles each needle has a hollow center, and when it is stuck into the prostate, it takes out a very small core of tissue. Theres a lot of potential to miss any cancer that might be hiding in there.
This is why many men end up getting multiple repeat biopsies, says NYU urologist Stacy Loeb, M.D. This means that you might have a PSA that is elevated. Your doctor orders a biopsy, and no cancer is found. But the PSA keeps on creeping up, so your doctor recommends another biopsy, and maybe even another. About a third of men in one study got another biopsy within five years of a negative biopsy, says Loeb. If the PSA is elevated, do we do another biopsy, or what do we do? This is where some of the second-line PSA tests, like the Prostate Health Index or 4K Score, can be helpful.
A urine test, called the PCA3 test, may also be helpful. Unlike the PSA test, which is prostate-specific but not cancer-specific , the PCA3 test targets genes produced by prostate cancer cells.
First, it can hurt. To get to the prostate, the doctor goes through your rectum. With needles. To minimize pain, your urologist may use conscious sedation or an anesthetic called a prostatic block .
Prostate Biopsy Side Effects Are Common
Complications from prostate biopsies are common but usually not severe, a study in Urology reveals. Participants in the study had biopsies to look for cancer after an abnormal rectal exam or prostate-specific antigen blood test. In a biopsy, a fine needle punches quickly through the rectal wall to remove a tiny sample of prostate tissue for examination under a microscope. Doctors took 12, 18, or 24 samples per participant. Typical problems from biopsy include pain, soreness, and infections. A more serious complication, which may lead to hospital admission, is acute urinary retention, in which a man is temporarily unable to drain his bladder.
Here is what the study found:
40% of the men experienced a complication.
The complication rate was as high as 57% in men with 24-sample biopsies.
Only 1.2% of the men required hospital admission.
9.1% ended up visiting an emergency room.
6.7% developed acute urinary retention.
Prostate needle biopsy is the only way to diagnose prostate cancer, regardless of PSA test results. The complication rate would vary with the general health of the men involved.
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Vitamins And Dietary Supplements
Its OK to take a multivitamin during your radiation therapy, but dont take more than the recommended daily allowance of any vitamin or mineral.
Dont take any other dietary supplements without talking with a member of your radiation therapy team. This includes vitamins, minerals, and herbal or botanical remedies.
How Does The Procedure Work
Ultrasound imaging is based on the same principles involved in the sonar used by bats, ships and fishermen. When a sound wave strikes an object, it bounces back, or echoes. By measuring these echo waves, it is possible to determine how far away the object is as well as the objects size, shape and consistency. This includes whether the object is solid or filled with fluid.
In medicine, ultrasound is used to detect changes in the appearance of organs, tissues, and vessels and to detect abnormal masses, such as tumors.
In an ultrasound exam, a transducer both sends the sound waves and records the echoing waves. When the transducer is pressed against the skin, it sends small pulses of inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body. As the sound waves bounce off internal organs, fluids and tissues, the sensitive receiver in the transducer records tiny changes in the sounds pitch and direction. These signature waves are instantly measured and displayed by a computer, which in turn creates a real-time picture on the monitor. One or more frames of the moving pictures are typically captured as still images. Short video loops of the images may also be saved.
A computer processes the signals and creates a series of images, each of which shows a thin slice of the body. These images can be studied from different angles by the radiologist.
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