Sex life after prostate cancer treatment
When you are going about your everyday life and are suddenly slammed with a prostate cancer diagnosis, you may wonder how this will affect your regular activities. With prostate cancer, there are varying degrees of impact. For men with small, slow-growing cancer confirmed with proper diagnostics, their doctor may prescribe active surveillance, which means they will need to have regular check-ups to follow their cancer. Men who have prostate cancer that requires treatment will see more impact on their usual activity level, with the degree dependent on the treatment they pursue. Men worry about, often ask themselves the following question: "What will be the impact on my sex life after prostate cancer treatment"?
Men often fear erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment, according to Vituro Health Medical Director Stephen Scionti, M.D., and this is for good reason. There is a significant risk of sexual dysfunction after traditional prostate cancer treatments such as surgery — more than 50 percent of men experience erectile dysfunction and virtually all will experience orgasmic dysfunction. This side effect is believed to be part of the reason 74 percent of men aged 50+ avoid prostate cancer screenings.
“The major fear associated with traditional prostate cancer treatments is having to pay the price in terms of quality of life,” Dr. Scionti says. “This is commonly mentioned by patients in the baby boomer generation who are far more concerned about quality of life than their fathers were.”
The outcomes of traditional treatments are in part what prompted a major change in how prostate cancer is screened for in the U.S. today.
“One of the main reasons why the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against PSA testing was concern that PSA screening led to overdiagnosis of prostate cancer and overtreatment, which led to side effects, such as erectile dysfunction because in many cases the treatment was worse than the disease,” Dr. Scionti explains.
But, Dr. Scionti says, this no longer has to be the case. New targeted treatment techniques allow men to maintain the quality of their pre-prostate cancer sex life and still have their disease eradicated.
“With the technology we have available now, physicians have a better opportunity to preserve erectile function for men facing some prostate cancers,” says Dr. Scionti.
This technology includes Multiparametric prostate MRI and MRI fusion guided prostate biopsy which helps properly diagnose, locate and stage cancer, as well as guide treatment. MRI Fusion guided high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses focused ultrasound targeted to the tumor region to destroy the abnormal prostate tissue precisely so that neighboring structures are not damaged, thus, reducing the side effect profile. Artemis MRI Fusion software, integrated into the Sonablate HIFU device allows for the precise delivery of ultrasound energy to a prostate tumor to achieve very precise and accurate ablation.
“By properly utilizing the diagnostics and treatment technology we have today, in well-selected patients, I feel very confident we can achieve excellent outcomes in terms of treatment of their disease and give that man a better quality of life,” said Dr. Scionti.