Because the prostate is close to several vital structures, prostate cancer and its treatments can disrupt normal urinary, bowel, and sexual functioning. This section discusses side effects that might be experienced as well as advice on managing those side effects.

Managing Prostate Cancer Side Effects

Early management of side effects has been shown to help patients live longer, better lives. Is it also of extreme importance that you communicate with your doctors about the side effects that you are experiencing as you undergo treatment. Ongoing and proactive communication will enable your...

Urinary Dysfunction

The term urinary dysfunction encompasses both urinary incontinence, which can range from some leaking to complete loss of bladder control, and irritative voiding symptoms, including increased urinary frequency, increased urinary urgency, and pain upon urination. Obstruction of the bladder by an enlarged prostate is the typical...

Bowel Dysfunction

Solid waste that is excreted from the body moves slowly down the intestines, and, under normal circumstances, the resultant stool exits through the rectum and then anus. Damage to the rectum can result in bowel problems, including rectal bleeding, diarrhea, or urgency. In prostatectomy it is...

Erectile Dysfunction

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. This is because the nerves and blood vessels that control the physical aspect of an...

Infertility

Despite the best efforts of surgeons and radiation oncologists, it is nearly impossible for a man to retain his ability to father children through sexual intercourse after initial treatment. During prostatectomy, both the prostate and the nearby seminal vesicles are removed. The seminal vesicles are two...

Hormone Therapy Side Effects

Testosterone is the primary male hormone, and plays an important role in establishing and maintaining typical male characteristics, such as body hair growth, muscle mass, sexual desire, and erectile function, and contributes to a host of other normal physiologic processes in the body. The primary systemic...

Radiation Side Effects

Because the prostate is close to several vital structures, radiation therapy can disrupt normal urinary, bowel, and sexual functioning. Short-term Complications You may experience some temporary urinary symptoms, such as waking up in the night and needing to urinate, needing to urinate more often during the...

Surgery Side Effects

Because the prostate is close to several vital structures, prostate cancer surgery can disrupt normal urinary, bowel, and sexual functioning. Urinary Incontinence During a prostatectomy, the bladder is pulled downward and connected to the urethra at the point where the prostate once sat. If the sphincter...

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy drugs are powerful and can take a toll on the body. Reactions to drugs can vary widely from patient to patient, so it’s important to pay attention to any side effects that you experience, expected or otherwise. The chemotherapy drug docetaxel is very well tolerated,...

When to Seek Help

Some form of erectile, urinary, and bowel dysfunction is normal following initial therapy for localized prostate cancer. But it’s important to realize that not all symptoms are normal, and that some require immediate care. What to look for Why it is dangerous Erection lasting for more...

Janet Farrar Worthington

The Long, Wet Road Back to Normal

Incontinence after radical prostatectomy sucks. But for nearly all men, it goes away. For the...

Janet Farrar Worthington

Interview with an Expert: Rehabilitating Your Penis

INTERVIEW WITH AN EXPERT Trinity Bivalacqua, M.D., Ph.D., the R. Christian B. Evensen Professor of...