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How to Understand the Possible Side Effects of Prostate Cancer Surgery

The good news is you'll be treating your cancer. The bad news is there are possible side effects of prostate cancer surgery.


  • Step 1: Be aware that you may endure a host of additional side effects from hormone therapy after surgery, including hot flashes, loss of bone density, fatigue, a risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • Step 2: Anticipate other potential side effects like blood clots, blood loss, infection, and lingering pain to better notify the doctor and address complications early. Decreased muscle, anemia, or memory loss are potential effects, too. Now that you know the possible side effects of surgery, stay positive and be sure to talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
  • FACT: According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2000 and 2006, the occurrence of prostate cancer in men of all races and ages in the United States decreased by 2.4 percent each year.
  • TIP: If fertility is a concern of yours, you may want to speak to your doctor about freezing your sperm before prostate cancer surgery.
  • Step 3: Accept that because the prostate and the nearby seminal vesicles are removed, you will almost certainly lose fertility during prostatectomy. This is true of radiation therapy, too.
  • Step 4: Understand that weaker and shorter erections can occur after the operation, lasting from four months to several years. Because nerves and blood vessels controlling erections are extremely delicate and easily damaged in the process, permanent impotence often results.
  • Step 5: Ask about a nerve-sparing prostatectomy which, though not always successful, offers a potential side benefit of causing less damage to sexual function.
  • Step 6: Expect urinary dysfunction or incontinence, the primary side effect of a prostatectomy, experienced by more than 25 percent of men.

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