Patient Sexual Health: Prostate Cancer and Sex

University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center Empowers Patients to Regain Health Following Surgery

The Urologic Oncology Center provides expert care for prostate cancer patients who have undergone surgical, radiation or hormone therapy treatments. Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners and psychologists can address a wide range of issues related to sexual and urinary dysfunction.

Patient Sexual Health

UH health care team is at the forefront of advanced research of various treatments for prostate cancer patients experiencing sexual problems. Our goal is to minimize the sexual side effects of prostate cancer treatments through rehabilitation.

Infertility occurs in patients when surgeons remove the seminal vesicles (where semen is made) along with the prostate, when a radical prostatectomy is performed. Patients who would like to retain their ability to have children should talk to their physician about the process of storing sperm, or sperm banking, before any surgery takes place.

No Question Left Unanswered

During the consultation, the UH Seidman Cancer Center physician will discuss possible surgical side effects. Individuals should feel free to ask any questions or voice any concerns during this time.

Possible surgical side effects may include:

  • Urinary incontinence: The involuntary loss of urine is one of the possible side effects of prostate cancer surgery. UH doctors have made several improvements to their surgical techniques to lessen the risk of urinary incontinence.
  • Erectile dysfunction: For some prostate cancer patients, temporary erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is common following surgery, even when UH surgeons utilize advanced procedures to leave nerves surrounding the prostate intact. Erectile dysfunction can occur when the nerves that follow the two sides of the prostate and control blood flow to the penis are injured during the surgical procedure. For many patients, recovery of full erections could take as long as three years after surgery. At the Urologic Oncology Center, we assist patients by offering an active regimen of penile rehabilitation that may include prescription drugs, penile injections or other mechanisms to assist patients with erections shortly after surgery.
  • Nerve graft surgery: The nerves that allow a man to have an erection are close to the prostate. One or both of these nerves sometimes must be removed to ensure that the cancer is completely cleared from the site. UH Seidman Cancer Center surgeons may offer patients in this group nerve graft surgery. During this procedure, the surgeons replace the nerves surrounding the prostate with a nerve from the patient's foot, which can assist in the restoration of sexual function. Nearly one half of prostate cancer patients who have had the nerve graft procedure are then able to have erections.