Erectile dysfunction could be a warning sign of advanced prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, although Cancer Research UK said it is “uncommon” on their website. Erectile dysfunction and incontinence are the most common side effects of prostate cancer treatment. A number of sexual side effects can occur as a result of cancer treatment, including a loss of interest in sex, pain during sex, less energy for sexual activity and feeling less attractive. Surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and other medications can all cause sexual side effects.
The prostate is next to key nerves, blood vessels, and muscles that help with achieving an erection. Surgery and radiation to treat cancer can damage these areas, making it more difficult for a person to get an erection.
Prostate cancer treatments may affect a man’s hormones, which in turn can affect the libido.
Unfortunately, there usually aren’t any early warnings signs for prostate cancer. The growing tumour does not push against anything to cause pain, so for many years the disease may be silent.
That is why screening for prostate cancer is such an important topic for all men and their families.
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is defined as persistent difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection.
Other causes for erectile dysfunction include medical, psychological and have an underlying medical condition which affects the blood vessels and nerves.
The American Cancer Society said on their website: “Many men report disappointment, fear, and distress when they have trouble with erections. These feelings are a natural part of coping with erection problems.
“And most men, if they are able to find effective treatments to help with their erections, will start to feel better.
“If those feelings are server or persist, most men find it very helpful to see a mental health professional who specialises in sexual issues or a psychiatrist who can help address these feelings.
“A therapist who specialises in helping patients with sexual issues can often assist in the treatment of erection problems caused by anxiety and stress.”
Treatment options for erectile dysfunction for men include oral medications, injections of medicine into the penis, using a vacuum constriction device to draw blood into the penis, drugs taken as a suppository or a penile implant.
Overall, up to 80 per cent of men will regain erections with the use of injections treatments.
Side effects could include occasional pain due to one of the drugs used for injection therapy, and the development of scar tissue.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation discussed spotting signs of the disease on their website and said: “In rare cases, prostate cancer can cause symptoms.
“You should contact your GP if you experience a need to urinate frequently, difficulty starting or holding back urination, weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine, painful or burning urination, decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated, painful ejaculation, pressure in the rectum or a pain in the lower back, hips, pelvis or thighs.”