In September, we’re talking about erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment.
Many men with prostate cancer have concerns about the potential impact of treatment on their sexual function, whether they voice those thoughts or not. This isn’t vanity: sexual function—or the loss of it —can cut to the heart of what it means to be a man for many. Who am I if I can’t function as I have always have? What does it mean for my marriage—or if I’m not married, my ability to attract a partner? Or more fundamentally: what does it really mean to be a man?
This is why each year, Prostatepedia dedicates an issue to discussing erectile dysfunction with prostate cancer experts, men with prostate cancer, and patients’ partners. The treatment options don’t really change much from year to year, but the openness with which men and their significant others talk about these issues is in evolution—or rather: revolution. More doctors are also talking about steps men can take before and after treatment to help function return at a faster clip. Pay particular attention to the advice our experts give this month.
For the first time, our Guest Commentary features a patient who also happens to be a former cancer researcher and an active member of his local UsTOO support group. Dr. David Houchens offers his thoughts on dealing with erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer and offers some valuable resources you may want to review.
Drs. Arthur Burnett and Mohit Khera each help us put erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer into context. They offer insight into which treatments might be effective and outline the pros and cons of each.
Dr. Irving Kaplan talks to us about erectile dysfunction after radiation
Dr. Neil Desai talks about his clinical trial on sex after stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy.
Dr. Sarah Hawley discusses her work on self-managing side effects like erectile dysfunction in prostate cancer patients within the Veterans Administration.
Mr. Jamie Bearse of Zero – The End To Prostate Cancer talks about the financial impact a prostate cancer diagnosis can have.
Brian M discusses his own struggles with ED after treatment and the impact it had on his marriage.
Finally, R. gives us a spouse’s perspective and offers her own advice for caregivers.
It used to be that both patient and doctor were uncomfortable even bringing up erectile dysfunction after cancer. Shouldn’t I just be grateful that I’m alive, many would think. Certainly, this is still true for some— but as with many things in our world, things are changing.
The bottom line is that if you are struggling, no one can help you if you don’t talk about what’s happening first: with your partner, with your friends, and most importantly with your doctor.
Silence is a dead end.