Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be frightening. The more you learn, however, the less anxious you may feel. Your most important task after being diagnosed is to get as much information as you can about your condition. Then you and your doctor can talk over the best course of action. Because there is an array of treatment options, making the decision can be complicated. Here are the key questions to ask:
How much time do I have to make a decision?
Thanks to early detection, most prostate...
When, if ever, is something going to be done for the
unfortunates like me who suffer from impotence and incontinence after prostate
surgery? If I had it to do over, you can bet your life I'd say no. Quality of
life is more important than quantity.
I agree, quality of life is absolutely important. Every
treatment has potential complications, but the number of complications [with
prostate surgery] is decreasing. We're seeing fewer and fewer people with these
There are a number of treatments for impotence. There's a
vacuum constriction device, injections of the drug alprostodil, an inflatable
penile prosthesis -- available treatments that are well accepted and
time-tested. There are also a number of drugs in the pipeline, which show
promise -- drugs that are longer-acting and quicker-acting than Viagra.
For incontinence, we can do collagen injections; insertion of
artificial urinary sphincters is also a possibility. Again, these are
time-tested and well accepted treatments. -- J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, chair
of urology at the University of Kansas in Kansas City.
I am a prostate cancer survivor. Based on what I now know, it
appears that I did not have the nerve-sparing type of surgery. After 22 months
I still don't have complete bladder control and no response to Viagra. Is it
possible for those nerves to be regenerated or repaired? My internist has me
taking vitamins C and E to help. Are they effective in this area?
It's very unlikely that you will have recovery of function
after 22 months. Most recoveries happen in the first year. Late regeneration of
nerves is possible but remote. And there's no way to do a correction. [See the
previous answer for options.] -- J. Brantley Thrasher, MD, chair of urology
at the University of Kansas in Kansas City.