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Male Childhood Cancer Survivors May Face Sexual Problems, Infertility as Adults

Almost a third of male survivors report at least one sexual problem, the researchers said. Premature ejaculation and ED are the most common, but painful erections and orgasm difficulties are also possible. Such problems can have numerous causes. Here are some examples:

  • Testosterone production. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, is made by the testes. However, if the testes are damaged by radiation or surgery, their output may not be enough. Similarly, radiation to the brain can impair the pituitary gland’s ability to “order” the testes to make testosterone.
  • Damage to pelvic nerves and blood vessels. Damage to these areas could limit a man’s ability to get erections.
  • Negative body image. Cancer treatment may delay puberty for adolescents or leave scars and stretch marks. Feeling “different” from one’s peers can lead to poor self-esteem, depression, and anxiety – all contributing factors to sexual dysfunction.
  • Medication side effects. Drugs used to treat mental health issues may have sexual side effects, such as low libido, ED, and delayed orgasm.

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