Intimacy After Prostate Cancer
Intimacy is a gentle reminder of love, caring, passion, and trust. It’s an important part of a relationship, which means you’re likely to have some questions regarding intimacy after prostate cancer treatment. Here, we will go over some of the concerns you may have and how to navigate intimacy after prostate cancer.
Facing the Challenges of Prostate Cancer Together
For men dealing with prostate cancer, the challenges are many: from realizing that their bodies are being invaded by this disease and having to decide whether to get treated or carefully wait while wondering if their ability to be intimate may be affected by the type of treatment chosen. After going through the ups and downs of it all, one thing remains – you are alive! While the relationship with your partner may change, enjoying your adult life is not over.
Now is the time to talk to your partner and communicate as openly and honestly as you ever have about sex and intimacy: what you need, what you want, and what you are feeling. Your partner can help you get through this difficult time, and you shouldn’t sacrifice the relationship while fighting prostate cancer. Your physician can also help. Ask questions, talk about your fears and learn how to deal with each aspect of this life-changing experience.
How Will Your Sex Life be Affected by Prostate Cancer Treatment?
This is the most common personal question asked throughout prostate cancer treatment. Every man would like to know what, if any, potential sexual side effects are associated with prostate cancer treatments and what his chances are of seeing these play out in his life. As with many treatment questions, the answer is multi-faceted. Depending on treatment type, the skill of the physician, and personal response to treatment, sexual side effects may range. The severity of sexual side effects with any type of treatment also depends on a man’s baseline sexual function before treatment.
Non-surgical treatment options, such as ProstRcision, leave the prostate and surrounding tissue intact, creating less risk for sexual side effects.
The nature of prostate removal surgery creates an increased risk for sexual side effects. The act of cutting out the entire prostate eliminates all tissue, including healthy tissue, and men may experience the inability to ejaculate. Depending on the extent of the cancer, surgeons will attempt to preserve the sex nerves, in which circumstance effects on nerve functionality would be less extreme. Other potential side effects include erectile dysfunction, nerve insensitivity, and other sexual-related functionality issues. Due to advancements in Radical Prostatectomy surgery, these side effects may be able to be limited.
Common Questions about Intimacy and Prostate Cancer
Dialogue around prostate cancer treatment can be a difficult and potentially awkward scenario to navigate. Questions pop up around sex, urination and other personal issues that make asking pressing questions a lumbering, labored experience. Because of this, many men shy away from asking questions that could potentially change their decision when it comes to treating their cancer. That is exactly why we have crafted this list of answers to some of the most common personal questions.
Is it okay to have sex during treatment?
Talk to your doctor to learn if it is okay for you to have sex. It depends on your type of treatment. Most men can have sex during their treatment.
Will prostate cancer treatment affect my sex drive?
When interest in sex dwindles, it is no cause for fear or that something is wrong. Be easy on yourself. You are going through a lot. You may be worried or tired from your treatment. Most likely, you will feel better once treatment ends. For now, talk with your partner and find other ways to stay close to each other. Sexual changes happen very slowly over a period of six months to one year after radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor or nurse to learn what you should expect.
If you are concerned with prostate cancer treatment side effects or would like to find out more about the treatment options, please get in touch today! One of our knowledgeable (and discrete) patient navigators can answer any sensitive questions and help equip you to make an informed treatment option.