Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States, and as such there are many men out there weighing their options in prostate cancer treatment. Of course, much of this decision is based on the severity of each cancer and whether or not it is localized to the prostate gland. Another big part of decision making is quality of life and for men (and their significant others) this means sex life.
Many people mistakenly believe that prostate cancer is synonymous with impotence. But this is far from the truth. There may have been truth in this statement in previous decades, but within the last 10 years treatment advances, coupled with early detection methods, have made it possible to be a prostate cancer survivor and still have an active sex life. Robotic surgery, as one method of treatment, has incredible post-operative outcomes, especially based on surgical experience and technique.
My SMART surgery for example, one type of robotic prostatectomy, accesses the prostate from the inside out, affording the ability to save those ultra important sexual function nerves. Without cutting or damaging three critical areas: the endo-pelvic fascia, the neurovascular bundles, and the urinary sphincter, a surgeon can optimize post-surgery sexual function. Statistically, 85% of patients with localized prostate cancer regain erectile function 12-24 months after surgery. And when compared to other forms of therapy, like radiation or hormones, erectile function improves over time instead of deteriorating.
Of course, even if you do face erectile dysfunction after surgery, there are plenty of treatments available to you so that you can continue to enjoy an active sex life. These include oral medications, penile injection therapies, vacuum pump, and penile implant to name a few. The simplest form of treatment being oral medications. This includes a regiment of medications such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.
If oral medications are not effective, you should still continue to be sexually active and exercise your penile muscle after surgery. It can be difficult not to be discouraged, but it take time for your body to heal after prostate cancer treatment. Nerves need to regenerate in order to respond to oral medications. Penile injection therapy exists in such cases and is thought to be one of the most effective ways to restore erectile function. Other methods include a vacuum device, or penile implant. The vacuum constriction device uses vacuum-like suction to help the penis become erect, while a ring simultaneously placed at the base of the penis helps to maintain the erection brought on by the suction device. If you are looking for a permanent solution, a penile implant may be your best option especially if you have exhausted all others. Penile implants have also been associated with a very high rate of patient and partner satisfaction.