Prostate Cancer and Sexual Healthcare
Last updated: April 2023
In this article, I want to talk to you about what type of sexual healthcare doctors may prescribe for men with prostate cancer. I think it's important for anyone to think about how their doctor is treating them when it comes to sexual health.
Quality of life after treatment
Let me start by saying I support testing and early detection of prostate cancer. As you may know, early detection can potentially lead to better health outcomes. I understand that physicians may be more concerned with saving your life versus the quality of life you have after they save it. With that said, quality of life is still important, and that can include sexual activity with a partner.1
As many of you know, having surgery and/or some of the treatments for prostate cancer can cause side effects. Some of the side effects can include bladder incontinence or various sexual dysfunctions, such as erectile dysfunction (ED). Some people may start rehabilitation – for lack of a better term, let's call it "penile rehab" – as soon as they enter the recovery phase of treatment to help deal with the sexual side effects.2
Asking your doctor questions
It’s important for a person and their doctor to be on the same page when it comes to quality of life after surgery or treatments. Depending on what type of treatment you had, the doctor may have a good idea of what type of rehab would work best for your situation. Questions to ask the doctor can include:
- How long will rehab last?
- Will there be any new side effects?
You may want to have your partner present during this conversation so they can ask any questions they may have as well.
Considering different options
A doctor may prescribe Viagra or Cialis to help a person with ED. While some men have success with these meds, these pills do not work for everyone. In other words, some men do not see the sexual improvements they were expecting. A sexual partner could be disappointed as well. I suggest having a talk with your doctor about the likelihood of success with the type of rehab they recommend.3
Let’s take this idea of penile rehab a step further. Your doctor may suggest a penile implant. That would mean another surgery in your genital region. Is this something you would be open to? What do you think your partner would have to say about this? Just a few things to think about.3
Getting the right support
While the doctor is a part of your care team, another important member of the team could be a counselor or therapist. If you find a counselor who specializes in cancer treatment, they may be able to guide you through your rehab options and discuss issues and concerns you and your partner may have.4
Feel free to use this article as a guide to begin the conversation with your doctor on what to expect post-treatment and ways to improve your quality of life. When it comes to quality of life, I strongly believe much more work in this area is needed. What are your thoughts about this? Please leave a comment below.
Has prostate cancer changed your life? (Select all that apply)
Join the conversation