Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Don't lose it to prostate

Published:Monday | November 24, 2014 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

Prostate cancer is one of the most popular cancers among men. As a result of the invasive examination, men tend to shy away from being tested, not knowing they will have a lot more to worry about if the disease is not detected early.

A man enjoys being compared to a stallion in the bedroom and the most common side effect of prostate cancer is erectile dysfunction. And men who detect the cancer in its early stage have little to worry about when it comes to erectile dysfunction or a temporarily lowered sex drive.

"The prostate tumour can grow in a way that it damages the nerves around the testes that might prevent a man from getting an erection. That is the direct way it affects a man's ability to have sex," said general practitioner Dr Garth Rattray.

Rattray also mentioned that the illness can affect a man in many ways and noted that erectile dysfunction and a man's sex drive diminishing are two different things.

"The idea of surgery itself,

along with certain treatment, can decrease a man's urge to have sex," he mentioned. "There is one treatment where men are injected with female hormones, which overpowers men's hormones to fight the cancer, which may lower their sex drive."

There is also the factor of aggressive chemotherapy, which does a lot to a man's sex drive. The weakened state of the man's body would have sex being at the bottom of his satisfaction list. While this is the case, there are other treatment methods that directly affect the man's sexual capabilities.

Depending on the severity of the disease, a man might have to do a radical prostatectomy, which is the removal of the prostate altogether. There are times that this surgery can cause damage to the nerves that lead to the man's testicles. Fortunately, in more cases than not the use of their genitals do return.

radiation

Radiation can also affect a man's sex life as it is sometimes considered as collateral damage when external radiation not only kills the cancer but severely damages the nerves in that area. There is also internal radiation where seeds are placed under the skin to give off less heat and lowers the possibility of nerve damage.

There are, however, options for men that have experienced erectile dysfunction due to prostate cancer or its treatment. Viagra and tablets of that nature, in most cases, will not help as they do not replace nerve damage. One of the options is injection directly into the penis. This will allow the man to have an erection for awhile. Men can also do a surgery to attach a penile pump which, Rattray noted, would look like a normal erection when the men pump up their genitals.

There is not any preventative method that men can truly take than to be healthy. But Rattray encourages men to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet and exercise. And, of course, get tested. The test might very well be invasive and uncomfortable, but a few seconds of discomfort and early detection would be much better than what you might lose if you let this cancer get out of hand.