Sex life


Many sufferers of prostate cancer have trouble talking about their personal medical issues, especially those involving sex.Exceeding this limit may reduce many side effects of the therapy and bring about solutions to most of these problems. Tumors that affect the reproductive organs may, as you might guess, have an impact on an individual's sex life. During a prostatectomy there is a fairly high risk of damage to the nerves and arteries that surround the prostate, causing decreased blood flow to the penis which can led to erectile disorders.

Stock photo. Posed by model.

As said before, it is a risk that varies depending on the age of the patient and which increase after 70 years. Today it is possible to reduce the risk of such problems through innovative and less invasive surgical techniques, such as nerve-sparing prostatectomy, an operation that is performed when the cancer is not very extensive and is intended to keep the nerves intact.In any case, even in the presence of more invasive surgeries that can damage nerves, there are specific treatments that can lead to sexual rehabilitation.The surgery as well as the radiation therapy and hormonal therapies may lead to the appearance of this side effect.

The awareness of the disease and acceptance of any changes to sexual habits are fundamental aspects, the first step that a sufferer can take on board to manage the disease; in addition to the factors that directly depend on the type of treatment chosen, in fact, the psychological factors greatly affect the healing process.


The time of diagnosis, as well as the period of treatment, generate strong emotional stress and may lose interest in sex and sexual desire decreases; it is a transitory condition that often resolves soon as the patient starts to feel better. Furthermore, especially due to the therapies, depressive thoughts may arise that affect the sphere of desire and excitation that can be further conditioned if the partner does not relate correctly to the disease. Under normal conditions, when a man feels sexually aroused, his brain emits involuntarily nerve signals that extend from the spinal cord to reach the anal region, the prostate, urethra and then finally reaching the penis. 

Nerve impulses release of chemicals cause a swelling of the corpora cavernosa and cause dilation of blood vessels. When the blood reaches the blood vessels of the penis, an erection occurs.It should however be specified that these nerve impulses and the chain reaction that occurs are not controllable. Side effects of some cancer therapies causes damage to the nerves, lower vascularization which, if accompanied with the uncertainty, stress, fear of failure and tragic feelings can make your erection harder. It may happen, finally, that, after an intervention in the area of ​​the prostate and pelvis, the liquid spermatic end in the bladder and the semen is, therefore, expelled at a later time with urine. This is a phenomenon known as retrograde ejaculation. For these reasons it is essential to immediately raise these issue with their doctor in order to identify the most suitable rehabilitation path, always keeping in mind that the full involvement and dialogue with partners are aspects that facilitate and accelerate the healing process.


In the treatment of prostate cancer and some cases of testicular cancer recurs to a targeted testosterone treatment. The growth of prostate cancer cells, in fact, is linked to the presence of testosterone, a sex hormone produced primarily in the testes.To block tumor growth we must therefore lower its levels by using specific drugs. Applying hormone therapy is not without its side effects. 

These are very similar to those resulting from the removal of the testicles, such as loss of libido and erection difficulties.To reduce these drawbacks, the doctor will evaluate, together with the patient, the use specific drugs that induce an erection by increasing the blood flow into the penis. Scrotal implants are merely artificial testicles that are added to preserve the aesthetics of the scrotum helping the patient to regain self-esteem about their body. There are negative pressure devices which consist of a transparent cylinder inside of which fits the penis and then aspirating means of a pump the air within the cylinder (I am not sure, this is comprehensible according to italian text. Please, have someone check, I find this sentence unusual), the pressure around the penis decreases and the blood flows more internally bringing about an erection. 

The penile prosthesis, instead, is formed by two parts, one of which, within the organ, consists of two expansible cylinders, and the other, positioned in the scrotum, is a kind of pump that pushes a liquid inside the two cylinders, inducing an erection.The implant is done under anesthesia and is permanent.

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