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Prostate Cancer

What Can I Expect After Treatment?

Monday, April 23, 2012 - 16:11

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Following treatment for prostate cancer, some men may experience:

Incontinence

The inability to control urination affects about 10 percent of men who have been treated for prostate cancer. Incontinence may result from surgery or radiation. There are three kinds of incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence - Urines leaks when you exercise, cough, or sneeze, because control muscles have been damaged in surgery.
  • Overflow incontinence - This happens when the urine flow is temporarily blocked.
  • Urge incontinence - Sudden strong urges to urinate that occur because the bladder has become very sensitive.

Normal bladder function often returns within weeks after surgery or after radiation treatments have stopped.

  • Many men find help from special treatments to help urinary incontinence, including exercises to improve muscle control.
  • Special disposable undergarments are available for men with incontinence.
  • If incontinence continues to be a problem, surgery may be an option to help restore bladder control.

Impotence

Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, is the inability to have an erection. Impotence can result from surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapies.

After surgery, impotence may occur because of damage to the nerves that control an erection. In the months following surgery, some potency may return.

  • Drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra) can help a man achieve an erection.
  • Vacuum devices also assist in achieving an erection.
  • Penile implants can be inserted surgically to help create an erection.

Physical Discomfort

Physical discomfort after treatment for prostate cancer may include:

  • Fatigue caused by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormone therapies
  • Nausea and vomiting caused by radiation therapy or chemotherapy
  • Hair loss from chemotherapy

Medications are available to relieve nausea and vomiting. Hair usually will grow back when chemotherapy treatment is finished.

Prostate Cancer