Prostate Cancer - Topic Overview
will depend on what kind of cancer cells you have, how far they have spread,
your age and general health, and your preferences.
You and your
doctor may decide to treat your cancer with surgery, radiation, hormone
therapy, or a combination. Or if you have cancer that is low-risk and hasn't spread (early stage), you may be able to
wait and watch with active surveillance to see what happens. During active surveillance, you will have regular checkups with your doctor to see if your cancer
Choosing treatment for prostate cancer can be
confusing. Talk with your doctor to choose the treatment that's best for you.
Your age and overall health will make a difference in how treatment may
affect your quality of life. Any health problems you have before you are
treated, especially urinary, bowel, or sexual function problems, will affect
how you recover.
Both surgery and radiation can cause
urinary incontinence (leaking urine) or impotence (not being able to have an erection). The level of
urinary incontinence and how long it lasts and the quality of the erections a
man has after treatment will depend on whether the cancer has spread. These
also depend on what treatment is used.
Nerves that help a man
have an erection are right next to the prostate. Surgery to remove the cancer
may damage these nerves. Many times a special form of surgery, called
nerve-sparing surgery, can preserve the nerves. But if the cancer has spread to
the nerves, they may have to be removed during surgery.
same nerves can also be damaged by the X-rays that are used in radiation
Medicines and mechanical aids may help men who are
impotent because of treatment. Some men recover part or most of their ability
to have an erection several months or even years after surgery.