Prostate Cancer and Sex: What Men Need to Know

A positive diagnosis of prostate cancer can open up a world of concerns for men. While the potentially life-threatening nature of this condition can cause alarm, highly effective treatments often make this worry less pressing for many patients who find their prognosis is rather positive. The potential impact on a man’s sexual capabilities, however, is a topic that most men will fill themselves needing to address at some point during treatments.

Prostate cancer and the treatments meant to stop it in its tracks can have impacts on a man’s sex life. The likelihood of whether issues will present or not does hinge on a man’s particular case and the type of treatment pursued to address the cancer. There are some things that men should know in regard to prostate cancer and sex, including:

* Erectile problems may become a concern – Men who are being treated for prostate cancer will find it is safe for them to have sex. Erectile issues may present due to the location of the tumor and treatments undertaken. The risks associated with erectile dysfunction and treatments may vary greatly based on the treatment pursued. With that in mind, it is strongly urged that men discuss all treatments and potential side effects with their healthcare providers. In some cases, dysfunction may be a fleeting side effect of treatment. In others, the concern may persist, but doctors may be able to help a man enjoy more normalized functioning.
* Other side effects to be aware of – Erectile dysfunction aside, there are other potential side effects of treatment that may interfere with a man’s normal routine. These may include incontinence, bowel issues and an inability to ejaculate. The likelihood of these side effects presenting can vary based on treatment, which makes reviewing procedures in advance with a healthcare provider quite important.
* Normal fertility may be affected by treatment – The prostate is responsible for making semen, which carries sperm during ejaculation. Cancer may affect the ability to make semen, but it may not impact the ability to produce sperm. Men should talk to their doctors if fertility is a concern. Options do exist to help.
* Prostate cancer doesn’t always have to be treated with haste – Men who are diagnosed with low-risk forms of cancer may find that active surveillance is an option for them. This involves monitoring cancer to ensure it is not aggressive or spreading. In doing so, it may be possible to avoid some of the side effects associated with treatment.

Prostate cancer is anticipated to affect about 160,000 American men in the coming year. Men who are diagnosed with this condition to speak openly with their doctors about their concerns, treatment options and recommendations related to their specific case.

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