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Sex after treatment for prostate cancer

Regardless of the treatment used to cure prostate cancer, whether it’s surgery or radiotherapy, a significant number of men find they lose the ability to attain erections after treatment. For some this impediment is temporary (6–36 months) and for others it is permanent.

The priority, of course, is removal of the cancer – with very good results these days –followed by a return of bladder control, also usually with good outcomes.

It is around the 6–8 week post-surgery, when there is an absence of erections, both in the morning and with sexual stimulation that the realisation usually hits hard and no one can fully prepare you. Suddenly an important aspect of manhood has ceased to function. For most guys this is disastrous. It can cause a downward spiral into depression especially if there is no one to talk to. With sexual intimacy diminished, it is common for men to withdraw from their partners.

The plan

See your doctor or make an appointment at the WA SHC before surgery.

Night-time erections are nature’s way of keeping the penis healthy, allowing full blood flow and stretching of the elastic sponge like tissue within the penis (cavernosal spaces), which expand into an erection. Without these erections, permanent damage can occur to this tissue. Fortunately we can keep the penis healthy with simple treatments while we wait for the hoped return of erectile function to occur.

Best of all, if you can manage some changes to your modus operandi, we can assist you achieve erections for satisfactory sex in the meantime. Sometimes oral medications like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra work well, but sometimes they don’t and injecting the penis is the best option; close to 95% of men who inject will achieve normal erections.

Injecting does sound dramatic, but in fact it is no more than a tiny pin ‘prick’. After the multitude of blood samples you’ve given throughout your treatment injecting into the penis is nothing by comparison.

My advice is to give it a try and make an informed decision. Most of the patients that come to our clinic inject themselves, but for some couples the partner is better equipped to perform this task. Some patients’ partners consider injecting a form of foreplay as the response occurs within 5-10 minutes; white nurse’s uniform is optional.

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