Prostate cancer is one of the most frequently occurring cancers among men and can be cause for concern. There are many treatment options for prostate cancer depending on your age and the extent of the cancer. The most common treatment is a radical prostatectomy. Others include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, brachytherapy, and radiation therapy. Many of these treatments result in some level of erectile dysfunction (ED). In Western culture, masculinity is often tied to sexual performance. A diagnosis of prostate cancer begins a journey which can extend well beyond the treatment and recovery phases.
Both the diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer can impact your sex life. First reactions to prostate cancer often focus on fear of the unknown, management of symptoms related to treatments, and long-term survival. Sex can be an early concern because it can be affected by many of the treatments for prostate cancer.
Concerns about sex are usually important to most men but may vary from person-to-person. For the same individual, concerns may vary over time and can depend on age, the stage of cancer, coping skills (which can vary on any given day), support systems, and the quality of your relationship with your partner.
It’s important to acknowledge your concerns about your sex life early on and start planning for future success.
If you’ve had surgery, discuss when to resume sexual relations with your surgeon. Generally, you can have sex after prostate surgery when your surgical incisions have healed (if you’ve had surgery) and/or your overall sense of well-being has improved.