Q&A: prostate cancer

How does prostate cancer affect sexual desire?

Prostate cancer treatment can affect your sex drive. Hormone therapy or the removal of the testicles can cause you to lose interest in sex. Your desire for sex should return to normal once hormone treatment is stopped, but it can take up to a year.

Can prostate cancer treatment cause erection problems?

Short and long-term erectile dysfunction is very common after surgery to remove the prostate gland (prostatectomy). It is also not unusual after radiotherapy or brachytherapy.

How will a prostatectomy affect my ability to orgasm?

The removal of the prostate will alter your ability to ejaculate normally. You will experience a dry ejaculation, where you have the sensations of orgasm without releasing any semen.

Will prostate cancer treatment affect my fertility?

Treatment for prostate cancer can affect the production of sperm and lead to infertility. It may be possible for you to store some sperm before treatment so that they can be used later to fertilise an egg.

Does a family history of prostate cancer increase my risk of developing it?

You're two-and-a-half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother had it. The risk increases if they were under 60 when they were diagnosed or if more than one relative has been diagnosed with it.

Can having a vasectomy increase my risk?

Many prostate cancer experts agree it is unlikely that vasectomy increases the risk of developing prostate cancer. And although a link can't be ruled out altogether, if there is an increase in risk, it is probably small.

Do I need a PSA test?

If you're over 50 years old, you may consider having the test even if you have no symptoms. Black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are at increased risk from prostate cancer and might have more to gain from PSA testing than other men. Your GP will discuss the pros and cons of the test with you and give you information to help you decide whether to take it. There's currently no national screening programme for prostate cancer.

An information sheet for men considering a PSA test is available for download (PDF, 115kb)

What's a PCA3 test and how can I find out where to get it?

The PCA3 test is a urine test that measures a gene present in prostate cancer. It is not currently available through the NHS as it is still experimental - it is being evaluated for men with high PSA levels following a negative prostate biopsy. The test might help to determine whether they need another biopsy.

Is there a vaccine to treat prostate cancer?

There is evidence that a new therapy that stimulates the immune system called Sipuleucel-T might improve the survival of men with advanced prostate cancer. However, so far this has only been tested on a few hundred men with cancers that have failed to respond to standard treatments. Sipuleucel-T is not available in Europe.

Can a healthy diet reduce my risk of prostate cancer?

Some doctors believe that a diet low in animal fats and high in vegetables, cereals and oily fish may help protect men against prostate cancer. While a healthy diet is generally good for you, there's no definite proof it can prevent prostate cancer.

Is screening available for prostate cancer?

Screening for prostate cancer is not available on the NHS because there's currently no reliable test to detect it and no clear treatment. Screening will be introduced if and when there is good evidence that it would do more good than harm.

Article provided by NHS Choices

See original on NHS Choices

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