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    Advanced Prostate Cancer and Side Effects

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    Many men who have advanced prostate cancer experience side effects. Some of these side effects result from the treatments used to slow the spread of cancer. Other side effects come from the disease itself. Understanding these side effects can relieve fears and help you cope better. So can being an active participant in your own care. Ask your doctor questions. Learn about potential symptoms and options before receiving treatments. Carefully weigh each option with your doctor's input.

    Prostate Cancer and Impotence

    Impotence -- the inability to achieve or maintain an erection -- is a major side effect of most treatments for advanced prostate cancer. Among men who have their testicles removed by a surgery known as orchiectomy, about 90% will experience impotence. Drugs to reduce testosterone levels, called androgen deprivation therapy or ADT, also causes impotence in most men. If this therapy is discontinued, many but not all men can regain erections over time, with no assistance. Treatments to improve erections include medicines taken orally or injected into the penis, vacuum erection devices,and penile implants. Discuss these options with your doctor including their likelihood of success and patient satisfaction before you have treatment that may result in impotence.

    Prostate Cancer and Incontinence

    Incontinence -- the inability to control urine flow -- is a common side effect of all therapies directed at the prostate gland. Most patients do eventually regain complete urinary control. Exercises to strengthen the sphincter and surrounding pelvic muscles can help you regain urinary control. These are called Kegel exercises. A training program called biofeedback helps reinforce the proper performance of Kegel exercises. Medications may also help relieve incontinence. An artificial urinary sphincter also can be surgically inserted in cases of severe incontinence. Ask your doctor about these options.

    Prostate Cancer and Infertility

    Most treatments for prostate cancercause infertility. Several techniques can help preserve fertility, but they must be done before cancer treatment has been initiated. If you want to preserve your fertility, tell your doctor before undergoing any treatment for prostate cancer.

    Prostate Cancer Pain and Weakening Bones

    Prostate cancer most commonly spreads to the bones. This is called bone metastases. This condition can cause pain. It can also weaken bones and make them prone to fractures. So, too, can the endocrine therapy that's often used to slow the spread of prostate cancer. But doctors can offer treatments to relieve bone pain and support weakened bones.

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