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Prostate Cancer and Erectile Dysfunction

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How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

Current treatment options for erectile dysfunction for men who have received treatment for prostate cancer include:

  • Oral medications, such as tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), avanfil (Stendra), or sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Injections of medicine into the penis before intercourse (called intracavernous injection therapy)
  • Use of a vacuum constriction device to draw blood into the penis to cause an erection
  • Drugs taken as a suppository placed in the penis prior to intercourse
  • Penile implants

How Effective Are Oral Erectile Dysfunction Drugs?

  • Following surgery, up to 70% of men who have had nerves spared on both sides of the prostate will regain erections with the use of one or more oral drugs for erectile dysfunction. Results are less favorable for men who have had a single nerve spared or no nerves spared.
  • Following radiation therapy, overall, 50% to 60% of men regain erections with medication. However, current data are rather limited, especially for patients treated with radioactive seed implants.
  • Hormone therapy. Men treated with hormone therapy do not respond well to any erectile dysfunction treatments, but data are limited.

How Effective Is Injection Therapy With Each Type of Treatment?

If oral erectile dysfunction drugs fail, injections into the penis can be an effective form of treatment for men who have undergone surgery or who have received radiation therapy (whether by external beam or seed implants) for prostate cancer.

Overall, up to 80% of men will regain erections with the use of injection treatments. Side effects include occasional pain due to one of the drugs used for injection therapy, and the development of scar tissue.

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