The side effects of treatment are
important to think about. Removing the prostate gland during surgery can cause
impotence (not being able to have an erection) and
urinary incontinence (not being able to control
urination). Destroying the prostate gland with radiation may cause impotence
and incontinence, but not as much as surgery can. But radiation sometimes
causes diarrhea and bowel problems.5 Hormone therapy
can cause loss of sex drive and erections, risk of weak bones (osteoporosis),
hot flashes, and weight gain.
to have an erection sometimes returns or at least improves over time. So does
the ability to control urine leakage.
- Prostate Cancer: Should I Have Radiation or Surgery for Localized Prostate Cancer?
A diagnosis of prostate cancer usually means that you
will be seeing your doctor regularly for years to come, so it is a good idea to
build a relationship that is based on full and honest information. Ask your
questions about your cancer so that you can make the
best decision about treatment. Your doctor also may give you some advice on
changes to make in your life to help treatment be successful.
treatment options will be different if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer
that has come back or has spread outside the prostate. For more information,
see the topic
Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic.
Dealing with your emotions
feel many emotions after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Most men feel
some denial, anger, and grief. There is no "normal" or "right" way to react.
There are many things you can do to help yourself deal with your
emotional reaction to prostate cancer. Talking with
family and friends helps some people. Others find that they need to spend time
If your reaction is interfering with your ability to make
decisions about your health, talk to your doctor. Your
cancer treatment center may offer psychological or financial services. You may
also contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society to help you find
a support group. Talking with other men who have had similar feelings can be
For more information about specific treatments, see
the following topics:
If you choose surgery or
radiation to treat your
prostate cancer, it will be important to have regular
checkups. If your cancer comes back, this will help your doctor catch it early.
It will also help your doctor treat any complications you may have from your
treatment. Your regular follow-up program may include:
- Physical exams.
- PSA tests, to
measure the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. A higher
level of PSA may point to an enlargement, infection, or cancer of the prostate.
A rising PSA level after treatment for prostate cancer can mean your cancer has
- Digital rectal exams, to check for
changes in and around your rectum.
- Urinalysis, to
check for blood in your urine.
- Biopsies, to
examine suspicious tissue.