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Prostate Cancer and Erectile Dysfunction

What Should You Know About Prostate Cancer and Erectile Dysfunction?


Updated August 31, 2009

Men are often worried about what sexual problems may result from their [link urlhttp://prostatecancer.about.com/od/whatisprostatecancer/a/whatis.htm]prostate cancer and about the potential side effects of prostate cancer treatment. For many men, one of the most worrisome potential complications of prostate cancer treatment is erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence.

How Are Prostate Cancer and ED Related?

While it is rare for prostate cancer itself to result in ED, it is possible. The prostate is located very near several nerves and blood vessels at the base of the penis that are essential for proper erectile function.

If prostate cancer spreads out of the prostate itself, it can move to involve these important nerves and vessels. When cancer compresses or invades nerves or vessels, often they lose their ability to function properly. In the case of nerves and vessels which course into the penis, this could result in the inability to achieve or sustain an erection.

Overall though, it is rare for prostate cancer itself to cause ED.

How Are Prostate Cancer Treatment and ED Related?

ED is much more commonly caused by prostate cancer treatment than by prostate cancer itself.

Nearly all prostate cancer treatments can result in ED. Surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy and hormone therapy can all result in ED.

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