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Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment May Last 5 Years

Effects of Prostate Cancer Treatment May Last 5 YearsEven 5 years after prostate cancer treatment, some men still have sexual, urinary, and bowel difficulties, according to a January 2020 study in JAMA Network.

The extent of such issues usually depend on the type of treatment. For example, men who have their prostate gland removed (a surgical procedure called a prostatectomy) may have erectile dysfunction (ED – the inability to get an erection firm enough for intercourse) temporarily. For men who have radiation therapy or androgen deprivation therapy, ED might last longer.

The study examined 5-year outcomes for over 2,000 prostate cancer survivors who completed surveys periodically over a 5-year follow-up period. Researchers made comparisons based on treatment types.

They found that for men who had favorable-risk prostate cancer, those who had nerve-sparing prostatectomy were more likely to have urinary incontinence 5 years after treatment compared to man who underwent active surveillance (waiting to see if symptoms worsen before starting treatment). Men in the prostatectomy group were also more likely to still have sexual problems 3 years after treatment.

In men with unfavorable risk disease, men who underwent prostatectomy had worse sexual function at the 5-year point than men who had androgen deprivation therapy or external-beam radiation therapy.

If you’re considering your prostate cancer treatment options, don’t hesitate to ask your cancer care team about outcome possibilities for your specific situation.

Learn more:

Sexual Satisfaction After Prostate Cancer Treatment

After Prostate Cancer Treatment, Climacturia Rates Vary


JAMA Network

Hoffman, Karen E., MD, MHSc, MPH, et al.

“Patient-Reported Outcomes Through 5 Years for Active Surveillance, Surgery, Brachytherapy, or External Beam Radiation With or Without Androgen Deprivation Therapy for Localized Prostate Cancer”

(Full-text. Published: January 14, 2020)

Medscape Medical News

Harrison, Pam

“Harms From Prostate Cancer Tx Persist at 5 Years”

(January 22, 2020)