What are sexual issues in men with cancer?
Sexual issues in men are characterized by a lack of energy or lack of interest in sexual activity. Men undergoing cancer treatment may experience changes that affect their sexual life. Being intimate with and feeling close to your spouse or partner is important. Your doctor or nurse may talk with you about how cancer treatment might affect your sexual life.
How bad are sexual issues in men having cancer?
Mild to Moderate: The symptoms are inability to achieve or maintain an erection (hard penis) suitable for intercourse (erectile dysfunction), absent or delayed ejaculation despite enough sexual stimulation. inability to control the timing of ejaculation (early, or premature ejaculation).
Severe: Visit your doctor if you experience lack of desire for sex, inability to become aroused, pain while having an intercourse.
How to manage sexual issues in men with cancer?
Keep track of your symptoms using Ankr (myAnkr web portal or the Ankr app). It will help you describe the problem to your doctor or nurse.
- Learn about treatments. Based on symptoms, your oncologist or a urologist will advise you on treatment options. Several medicines and devices are useful to manage sexual health problems. These medicines increase blood flow to the penis. There are also surgical procedures in which a firm rod or inflatable device (penile implant) is placed in the penis, making it possible to get and keep an erection.
- Condoms may prevent your partner’s exposure to chemotherapy drugs that may remain in semen. Contraception is another option to prevent pregnancy.
- Manage related side effects. Talk with your doctor about problems such as pain, fatigue (Tiredness), hair loss, loss of interest in activities, sadness, or insomnia, that may affect your sex life. It can help you get the treatment and support you need to feel better.
- Get support and counseling. Share your feelings and concerns with people you are close to. You may also benefit from participating in a professionally moderated or led support group. Your nurse or social worker can recommend support groups and counselors in your area.
What causes sexual issues in men with cancer?
- Chemotherapy may lower testosterone levels and libido during the cancer treatment. Chemotherapy does not usually affect your ability to have an erection.
- External-beam radiation therapy to the pelvis area (anus, bladder, penis, or prostate) and brachytherapy can affect a man’s sexual function. The damaged blood vessels or nerves may cause erectile dysfunction.
- Prostate cancer may cause a dry orgasm.
- Hormone therapy can lower testosterone levels and decrease a man’s sexual drive. It may be difficult to get or keep an erection.
- Surgery for penile, rectal, prostate, testicular, and other pelvic cancers (the bladder, colon, and rectum) may affect the nerves. It may cause an erectile dysfunction.
- Pain killers, some drugs for depression, as well as medicines that affect the nerves and blood vessels may all affect sex drive.
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