Will Erectile Dysfunction Increase the Risk of Prostate Cancer

Br J Sports Med. This may be an opportunity for you to experiment sexually with each other and work on ways to remain intimate, even when an erection is not possible. The ability to attain functional erections suitable for intercourse at 2 years after treatment was reported among 177 of 511 (35% [95% CI, 30%-39%]) men who underwent prostatectomy. Regardless of whether the nerves were spared during surgery or whether the most precise dose planning was used during radiation therapy, erectile dysfunction remains the most common side effect after treatment. Typically the patient and his partner are both involved in the therapy sessions. Penile rings are best for men who can get erections but can’t keep them. Overall, 50% to 60% of men regain erections with Viagra following radiation for prostate cancer.

A stretchable tension band is placed at the base of the penis to help maintain the erection.

It simply produces an alkaline fluid that comprises over 50% of the seminal volume. Traish AM, Park K, Dhir V, Kim NN, Moreland RB, Goldstein I. Side effects of radiation therapy appear more slowly during the year after treatment. Usually it does not occur right after radiation therapy but develops slowly over several years. 18 neither proves nor disproves an association between dose of radiation and ED.

Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction can include stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.


Studies have shown that approximately 50% of men who have the ability to have an erection before surgery will maintain this ability long-term. The development and progression of the disease can be faster or slower, depending on the patient. A map of the site is available upon request. We acknowledge the help of Jill Hardy, MS (Michigan State University), Beth Doiron, BA (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), and Catrina Crociani, MPH (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), for project management and of Alan Paciorek, BS (University of California, San Francisco), for analytic support.

  • As discussed earlier, following a radical prostatectomy, approximately 77% of patients have ED due to blood flow or nerve injury causes.
  • To assess the generalizability of these models for predicting erectile function after primary prostate cancer treatment, we evaluated the performance of these models in a separate cohort of 1913 men who underwent prostatectomy, external radiotherapy, or brachytherapy in the community setting and whose HRQOL had been measured via their participation in the CaPSURE registry (eTable 4).
  • Time is the most important factor in recovery.
  • Men who smoke or who have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes also may be at a higher risk of erectile dysfunction after radiation therapy.
  • Although the penile nerves may be preserved during a radical prostatectomy, a majority of men suffer from temporary nerve paralysis, which may last from months to years.
  • Alhathal N, Elshal AM, Carrier S.
  • Ask your doctor about medications that may help.

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This includes shockwave therapy, vacuum suction devices and hormonal replacements. Many patients do not realize that beta-blockers, one of the most commonly used blood pressure medications, can be a potential cause of ED. Even if a man cannot have an erection or can only get or keep a partial erection, with the right sexual stimulation you can experience an orgasm. Hormone therapy may also reduce the amount of semen released at ejaculation. But it is very much an individualized issue," says Dr. "As men become sexually aroused, the brain sends messages through the nervous system to the muscular walls of the blood vessels in the penis.

Erectile dysfunction can be difficult for both of you.


A penile injection is when you give yourself a shot of medicine in the base of your penis when you wish to have an erection. 80] for prostatectomy; 0. Rajpurkar A, Dhabuwala CB. In general, the younger you are and the better your sexual function before surgery, the more likely you will be to regain function after treatment. However, within one year after treatment, nearly all men with intact nerves will see a substantial improvement. Many men may have difficulty obtaining or maintaining erections after various forms of cancer treatment. Prostate problems and impotence affect men’s ability to sustain a satisfactory erection.

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However, current data are rather limited, especially for patients treated with radioactive seed implants. Medications may be injected into the side of the penis, which promote blood flow. Some prostate cancer treatments may affect the nerves, muscles, or blood vessels that let you have an erection. A permanent penile implant can be surgically inserted in the penis to facilitate erections. Nearly all men who have their prostate removed will have trouble getting an erection for a period of time, even if they have a "nerve-sparing" operation.

Our observation that baseline PSA level is associated with erectile function outcome after prostatectomy or external radiotherapy has not been previously described. Valicenti RK, Bissonette EA, Chen C, Theodorescu D. Development and validation of the Self-Esteem And Relationship (SEAR) questionnaire in erectile dysfunction.

Previous outcome studies, in contrast, have assessed impotence rates a year or more after surgery ranging from as low as 29 percent to as high as 75 percent.

Materials And Methods

Bicycle riding, perineal trauma, and erectile dysfunction: A number of explanations have been proposed for this phenomenon of delayed recovery, including mechanically induced nerve stretching that may occur during prostate retraction, thermal damage to nerve tissue caused by electrocoagulative cautery during surgical dissection, injury to nerve tissue amid attempts to control surgical bleeding, and local inflammatory effects associated with surgical trauma. A procedure called radical cystectomy for bladder cancer involves removing the bladder, prostate, upper urethra and seminal vesicles. This matter is frequently important to young men who by age status are more likely to have intact erectile function than older men; however, for all men having normal preoperative erectile function irrespective of age, preservation of this function is understandably important postoperatively. Lifestyle tips for good urologic health, over time, this reduces the curvature caused by Peyronie’s Disease. It is also the first study to examine the sexual and urinary side effects of such surgery in minority populations. Some men will never be able to keep an erection without the help of artificial (man made) methods like medicines or medical devices (an object which is useful to treat a medical condition).

The number of patients diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer (PC) has increased dramatically, because of routine prostate-specific antigen testing in the recent years and the possibility for cure of early disease. If the treatment results in infertility and the individual wishes to have children, doctors can use stored sperm for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some changes you may want to consider are: (31), whereby baseline sexual HRQOL score effect may supercede concurrent effects of comorbidity on posttreatment sexual outcome. This page provides some general information. Int J Impot Res.

The process of semen leaving the penis during sex. It is important to talk to a partner about what is happening and to discuss the alternatives. In addition, radiation therapy damages the prostate gland and seminal vesicles, which are responsible for creating the fluid that makes up ejaculate. 310-794-7700 Our goal is to provide you with fast, easy access to the physicians and services at UCLA.


You probably will not have enough sperm to father a child. Other researchers have found diabetes and peripheral vascular disease to be associated with worse posttreatment sexual outcome; however, those studies did not adjust for differences in pretreatment sexual function. Shabsigh R, Kaufman JM, Steidle C.

Options include pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions. Radical prostatectomy can result in nerve injury to the penis. Surgical implants.

Effect of testosterone replacement on response to sildenafil citrate in men with erectile dysfunction:

Intracavernosal vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injection and adeno-associated virus-mediated VEGF gene therapy prevent and reverse venogenic erectile dysfunction in rats. Radiation therapy: Newer nerve-sparing operations are less likely to cause erectile dysfunction, though whether you're a candidate for that type of surgery depends on the size and location of your cancer. It is important that you speak with them since some treatments for erectile dysfunction can affect other medical problems you may have. When a man’s penis does not get hard enough for him to have sex. Give it time A loss of interest in sex may occur due to fatigue and other problems relating to prostate cancer and treatment. How likely you are to become impotent following prostate cancer treatment varies depending on your age and sexual health before treatment, and the type of treatment that is received.

  • Nitrates are usually used to treat heart problems and are used in some recreational drugs (called poppers).
  • Your doctor can discuss the level of risk you may encounter for your specific type of cancer and treatment.
  • A Media Relations representative will greet you in the lobby and escort you to the briefing room.
  • Int J Clin Pract.
  • Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells.
  • A systematic review.

Hormonal Therapy

An estimated 179,300 men will be diagnosed this year, and more than 70 percent of these patients will have early stage, localized disease. Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism:  Some studies seem to show that only a small percentage of men have long-standing issues with ED, while others have shown much higher numbers. Intracorporal penile injections were the most effective (helpful in 74% of those who tried them) but were the least used, perhaps owing to inconvenience or discomfort. Effects of castration and androgen replacement on erectile function in a rabbit model. It affects around 13 in every 100 American men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Neuromodulatory therapy, represents an exciting, rapidly developing approach to revitalize intact nerves and promote nerve growth. Erectile dysfunction and cardiac disease: The findings highlight the fact that prostate cancer treatments have significant side effects, said Dr. ” (other responses indicated erectile dysfunction). Another common complaint among men who have undergone prostate cancer treatment is the loss of penile length and girth. Knowing that this is a potential side effect, be sure to discuss your management strategy for erectile dysfunction with your doctor. The typical incontinence experienced is usually a mild urge to urinate with a small amount of leakage.


These don't tend to work as well as the injections, but they're a good alternative if you don’t like the idea of an injection. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control. Yohimbine for erectile dysfunction: Psychogenic ED can occur frequently in men following prostate cancer surgery. Hormone therapy lowers the amount of testosterone in your body. Whether or not it is a viable treatment option depends on the location and severity of prostate cancer.

This condition occurs due to false entry of semen into the bladder instead of the penis. Good communication can lead to mutual trust and understanding, and this can help people to overcome fears and concerns in both partners. Hormone therapy can also cause you to produce less semen when you ejaculate.

Institutional Access

Key findings from the report include: Summary of the recommendations on sexual dysfunctions in men. There are two types of prostatectomy: Talk with your partner. However, you may find that you cannot have an erection even a year or more after surgery. 4 ways to turn good posture into less back pain. SCCA tracks outcomes of prostate cancer care, and our results have been consistently better than those typically seen. On average, the drugs take about an hour to begin working, and the erection-helping effects can last from 8 to 36 hours. Counseling may help them overcome this.

Other people you can talk to about your relationship include a counselor, your minister, a health professional, or other men in prostate cancer support groups.

Kawanishi Y, Lee KS, Kimura K, Koizumi T, Nakatsuji H, Kojima K, et al.


If an erection can be achieved after surgery, one does not lose the ability to have an orgasm. Hormone therapy, a common treatment for prostate cancer, can lead to a loss of desire for sex, erectile dysfunction and difficulty achieving orgasm, which tends to develop slowly over the first few months of hormone therapy. Assuming the mechanics are working correctly, it is 100% effective, and about 70% of men remain satisfied with their implants even after 10 years. Severe incontinence can often be corrected later with surgery. To address this barrier (separately from this study), we have developed the EPIC for Clinical Practice, a one-page HRQOL questionnaire that can be completed in 5 minutes and allows HRQOL scores to be easily calculated by clinicians at the point of care. To address erectile dysfunction, a penile implant, which is a narrow flexible plastic tube, is surgically inserted along the length of the penis. Differences in patient mix, study size and data-collection methods may explain the wide range of study results, says principal investigator Janet L. Your doctor or healthcare team should explain how to use them and how to buy them.

9,20,21 The CaPSURE cohort reported higher pretreatment and posttreatment erectile dysfunction (42% [95% CI, 40%-44%] and 78% [95% CI, 76%-80%] of men, respectively).

The outcome and side effects also depend largely on the experience and training of the surgeon.

See Also

Nerves damaged during surgery may result in erectile dysfunction. Treatments include: Penile implants require a surgical procedure by a physician, typically a urologist who has been trained and is skilled in penile prosthetics. Erectile dysfunction can be a difficult topic to discuss, but being open and honest about the problems you are having will allow your doctor to make the best treatment recommendation for you. Also called climax.

The penile prosthesis involves a surgical procedure where an inflatable device is placed in the penis.

Health Encyclopedia

These are referred to as “on-demand dosing” and “daily dosing,” respectively. If these options don’t help you get an erection, you may want to talk to your doctor about the chance of getting a penile implant. There has been considerable interest in ED after diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer over the past decade with an increase in published articles on the subject and an increase in media coverage. Are there any surgical techniques that have been developed to improve erectile function outcomes? In multivariable analysis, lower PSA level, better pretreatment sexual functioning score, and no use of neoadjuvant hormone therapy were associated with increased log-odds of functional erections after treatment (each P <. )

Schmidt HM, Hagen M, Kriston L, Soares-Weiser K, Maayan N, Berner MM. Cancer occurs when the prostate cells start to grow out of control, which affects the normal function of the gland and can spread to other areas of the body. Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is the inability to have or maintain an erection. The second one studied the correlation between the dose to the PB with ED after three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy. Although this is often not a concern, since most men are older at the time of diagnosis, if desired you could talk to your doctor about "banking" sperm before the procedure. This story was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience.

These rates do not appear to be affected in the long-term by the use of short-term (4 to 6 months) hormone therapy, but will be affected by the use of long-term (18 to 36 months) hormone therapy. Androgens and penile erection: Unfortunately, some men never recover their erections after surgery.

Getting Treatment And Support

At 2 years, 14 men (9 prostatectomy, 1 external radiotherapy, 4 brachytherapy) reported having a penile prosthesis, and 53% (95% CI, 50%-56%) of all other men reported having used medications or devices for erectile dysfunction (66% [95% CI, 61%-70%] prostatectomy, 32% [95% CI, 26%-38%] external radiotherapy, 47% [95% CI, 41%-53%] brachytherapy), and 61% (95% CI, 57%-64%) of men who were potent prior to treatment reported having used any such aids at 2 years (69% [95% CI, 65%-74%] prostatectomy, 40% [95% CI, 31%-49%] external radiotherapy, 54% [95% CI, 46%-62%] brachytherapy) (Table 6). Furthermore, postoperative erectile dysfunction is compounded in some patients by preexisting risk factors that include older age, comorbid disease states (e. )Available at http: Erection problems can also be treated with drugs using an injection that you give yourself. What are the current expectations with regard to outcomes after radical prostatectomy? Mulligan T, Frick MF, Zuraw QC, Stemhagen A, McWhirter C. Libido is the desire to have sex.

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Shabsigh R, Padma-Nathan H, Gittleman M, McMurray J, Kaufman J, Goldstein I. Patients are understandably concerned about this issue and, following months of erectile dysfunction, become skeptical of reassurances that their potency will return. If an erection can be achieved after surgery one does not lose the ability to have an orgasm but they are "dry" orgasms in which little (if any) ejaculation comes out. Patients can then be considered for a number of treatment options, and currently sildenafil (Viagra™, Pfizer) is usually used as first-line therapy assuming there are no contraindications, such as severe ischaemic heart disease or nitrate therapy. All of the currently available, potentially curative treatment options for prostate cancer can result in temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction (ED), though many men who undergo treatment for prostate cancer see little or no ill effects to their erectile function. Is the daily use of vacuum erection device for a month before penile prosthesis implantation beneficial?

Therapeutic prospects include neurotrophins, neuroimmunophilin ligands, neuronal cell death inhibitors, nerve guides, tissue engineering/stem cell therapy, electrical stimulation, and even gene therapy. Side effects include occasional pain due to one of the medicines used for injection therapy, and the development of scar tissue. Of interest, the models were more accurate in predicting erections following external radiotherapy than those following prostatectomy (AUCs of 0. )Multivariable logistic regression models predicting erectile function estimated 2-year function probabilities from as low as 10% or less to as high as 70% or greater depending on the individual's pretreatment patient characteristics and treatment details. The clinical challenge is determining which treatment option is best for an individual patient, and each treatment has advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, some oral ED medications can have serious side effects, especially men taking medications with nitrates. Try to eat a healthy diet.

This is called penile rehabilitation. A ring slides over the base of the penis to keep the blood in the tissues to maintain an erection for up to half an hour. Men who have had cancer treatment may find that it simply takes time to regain sexual function. By treating one partner, you are also treating the other. Compared to younger men, those in their mid to late 70's experienced the highest level of incontinence; 14 percent reported total incontinence two years after diagnosis, compared to rates ranging from less than 1 percent to 4 percent among men under age 60.

  • Over the past decade, there has been considerable interest in neuromodulatory therapies such as the use of immunophilin ligands, neurotrophins, growth factors and stem cell therapy to regenerate cavernous nerve and promote axonal regrowth in remaining neural tissue.
  • Pelvic surgery can result in changes to the nerves and blood vessels responsible for erections.
  • Monitoring does not have side effects that cause sex problems, although anxiety may persist, and the person may still have less interest in sex as a result.
  • There are a number of treatments available which work in different ways.

What Can I Expect During Recovery from Prostate Cancer Treatment?

Some men talk about feelings of a loss of their role within the partnership or family. It is OK for you to tell your partner that even though he has erectile dysfunction, you want to stay in touch physically and intimately. The charities are calling on men to have the confidence to speak out about their side effects without embarrassment, and for healthcare professionals to proactively discuss sexual problems post-treatment and signpost them to the appropriate support they need. Do some experimenting. Yes, there are things you can try if you have erectile dysfunction after your prostate cancer treatment. Alemozaffar M, Regan MM, Cooperberg MR, et al. Erectile dysfunction often occurs as a result of nerve damage and poor blood flow to the penis.

This technology has been used for several years in Europe, and initial results appear promising in improving overall erectile function. Another effective treatment for ED is penile injections. In an exploratory analysis, we did not detect any association between prostatectomy volume at individual centers and sexual HRQOL outcome (correlation r = 0. )Peyronie’s disease, which is an abnormal curvature of the penis when it is erect, and penile trauma, can also lead to ED.

We used the illustrations in these papers to understand their definition of the PB, which coincides with its definition in other papers.

Most men who undergo treatment for prostate cancer will experience some erectile dysfunction for the first several months after treatment, even despite nerve sparing surgery or precision radiation. I believe these medications generally do not cure ED, but instead allow the disease to become worse over time. Take this time to explore, together, the things you can do with each other that are sexually exciting.

Management of Erectile Dysfunction

Creating extraordinatry Intimacy in a shutdown world. Alemozaffar, Regan, Cooperberg, Hamstra, Pisters, Kaplan, Sanda. But these numbers use broad strokes; the model produced by the researchers' data gives men a more finely tuned picture, depending on their individual case. There are treatments to help patients restore and maintain erections. In univariable analyses, younger age, fewer comorbid conditions, lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, lower cancer severity/risk category, pretreatment potency, better (higher) pretreatment EPIC-26 sexual HRQOL score, better (lower) pretreatment American Urological Association Symptom Index, and plan for nerve-sparing surgical technique were associated with greater probability of attaining functional erections at 2 years (each P <. )In univariable analyses, younger age, college graduate, fewer comorbid conditions, and better pretreatment sexual HRQOL score were associated with greater probability of functional erections 2 years after treatment (each P <. )If the nerve-sparing technique is used, recovery from erectile dysfunction may occur within the first year following the procedure. Goldstein I, Payton TR, Schechter PJ.

Improving diabetic control and stopping smoking are also ways to reverse ED. Cheitlin MD, Hutter AM Jr, Brindis RG, Ganz P, Kaul S, Russell RO Jr, et al. Prostate cancer treatments may affect your hormones, which in turn can affect your libido. This is not harmful and does not affect the ability to achieve orgasm.