Prostate cancer alone does not result in erectile dysfunction, except in rare cases. Surgical treatments for prostate cancer however can cause men to
experience ED. All forms of prostate cancer treatment commonly used in the United States can result in erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction following treatment for prostate cancer can result from several determining factors such as:
Skill And Experience Of The Surgeon
The importance of the skill of the surgeon performing the operation cannot be overlooked. Studies have demonstrated that surgeons with experience performing prostatectomies have a reduced chance of postsurgical complications, including ED.
The Exact Type of Prostatectomy
An experienced surgeon may perform a “Nerve-Sparing Prostatectomy”, a procedure where nerves
supplying either one or both sides of the penis are not cut. This procedure has a lower rate of patients developing erectile dysfunction.
Severity And Spread Of The Cancer
Prostate cancer is notoriously slow-growing and can develop and spread without displaying noticeable symptoms. If the cancer has avoided detection and spread beyond the prostate and entered the nerves surrounding the prostate, then these nerves must be cut. This can lead to severe and permanent ED.
Overall Health Of The Patient
The health and medical history of the man prior to surgery plays a role in erectile dysfunction, particularly in older men. Men over the age of 40, and men with conditions such as diabetes, heart problems or high-blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction than young men in good health.
Pre-Surgery Erectile Function
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a variety of psychical and psychological factors. Men who have experienced ED in some form prior to surgery are much more likely to face severe ED following prostate cancer treatment.
All men experience temporary erectile dysfunction following prostate cancer surgery, but normal or near-normal sexual function typically returns in approximately 12 months.
Preventing prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction depends on early detection! Talk to your doctor today about proper prostate health, and schedule regular prostate exams if you are over the age of 40. NMMC can help you stay informed about prostate health, treatment for erectile dysfunction and other important men’s health issues. Contact NMMC today!