A new study shows nearly half of men feel worse after having their prostate gland removed due to cancer, although three-quarters would do it again given the same circumstances.
Tens of thousands of men each year undergo the surgery, called prostatectomy, and may suffer long-term consequences to their quality of life, in particular sexual function.
In the current study, published in the Journal of Urology, researchers asked 236 men how they were doing up to 1 year after surgery.
Three out of four had regained their physical and mental well-being and had no more problems with incontinence than before the operation. But just one out of four had recovered his ability to have intercourse.
The research team, led by Dr. Adrian Treiyer at St. Antonius Hospital in Eschweiler, Germany, also teased out the circumstances that were tied to better recovery.
Men were more likely to get their quality of life back if they had a type of surgery that leaves the nerves controlling erection intact, for instance, and if they participated in a rehabilitation program.
While the study doesn’t prove that rehab is helpful — men who did better might be likely to join such a program, for example — the possibility is worth noting, said Dr. Mark Litwin, a urologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study.
Rehab programs, which are relatively new in prostate cancer care, can include talk therapy or a drug regimen to treat erectile dysfunction.
“It’s not just about recovery of the penis and its ability to become erect, but helping men come to terms with being a cancer survivor,” Litwin told Reuters Health.
Both physical well-being, such as experiencing less pain, and mental health, including feeling good and functioning well socially, were tied to remaining continent and not encountering any complications after surgery.
“Some of these things, no one can control, such as baseline PSA,” Litwin said. “But some they can. Patients can doctor-shop and find the best care.”
In the type of surgery the patients had, surgeons make a cut between the belly button and the pubic bone to get to the prostate, which is then removed entirely — so-called radical prostatectomy.
About one in six American men get prostate cancer at some point in their life, according to the American Cancer Society. But they don’t necessarily have to have their prostate removed because of it.
Some may get radiation treatment instead, or they may have their tumor destroyed by a kind of surgery that uses freezing liquids. Others may choose just to be monitored — so-called watchful waiting — to see if the cancer grows slowly enough to be safely ignored.
All of these strategies have problems of their own, and the right option depends on both the cancer and the patient’s values.
Litwin said most studies have focused on the drawbacks to prostate cancer surgery, and indeed, the new findings confirm that most men have worse sexual function after the procedure.
“Quality of life definitely takes a hit, both physically and emotionally,” Litwin added, “but ultimately, it tends to go back to normal.”
The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.
Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.
The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health. Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement.
In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – representing the single largest donation they had ever received. The Movember moustache has continued to grow year after year, expanding to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland. In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising $42 Million US equivalent dollars for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.
Please help RC Cancer Centers raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer by donating to our Movember team at: http://us.movember.com/mospace/586356/ .
That gentle touch, that special look, that warm feeling that comes from within. Intimacy is a gentle reminder of love, caring, passion, and trust. That sense of belonging to someone other than ourselves.
For men dealing with prostate cancer, the challenges are many: from realizing that their bodies are being invaded by this disease and having to decide whether to get treated or carefully wait, while wondering if their ability to be intimate may be affected by the type of treatment chosen. After going through the ups and downs of it all, one thing remains – you are alive! While the relationship with your partner may change, enjoying your adult life is not over.
Now is the time to talk to your partner, and communicate as openly and honestly as you ever have about sex and intimacy: what you need, what you want, and what you are feeling. Your partner can help you get through this difficult time, and you shouldn’t sacrifice the relationship while fighting prostate cancer. Your physician can also help. Ask questions, talk about your fears and learn how deal with each aspect of this life-changing experience.
Is it okay to have sex during treatment? Talk to your doctor to learn if it is okay for you to have sex. It depends on your type of treatment. Most men can have sex during their treatment.
When interest in sex dwindles, it is not cause for fear or that something is wrong. Be easy on yourself. You are going through a lot. You may be worried or tired from your treatment. Most likely you will feel better once treatment ends. For now, talk with your partner and find other ways to stay close to each other.
Sexual changes happen very slowly over a period of six months to one year after radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor or nurse to learn what you should expect.
The emotional connection you get from intimacy should not be erased by cancer treatment.
Take control of your prostate health. And help other men do the same.
By Rebecca Webber
Mary McGuire-Wien and her husband, Charles Wildbank, had been searching for a new home on Long Island for more than a year, but every place they’d seen was either unsuitable or unaffordable. After one long Sunday of unsuccessful house-hunting with their agent, the couple was anxious to get back home, but got stuck at a traffic light right next to an old barn that was under renovation. “A guy in a hard hat looked over at us and said, ‘Are you looking for a house?’” says Mary.
Though the barn didn’t look like a house—it didn’t even have any visible windows—Mary and her husband got out to take a look. The building turned out to be loftlike, with beautiful historical details (including back-facing windows). “A normal family probably wouldn’t want it,” says Mary. “But it was absolutely perfect for us because we needed a space where I could have a yoga retreat, and where Charles could paint.” They agreed to buy the place from the construction worker, who turned out to be the barn’s owner.
Mary and Charles could be considered fortunate—what are the chances that the owner would stop them when they were most in need of a home? And yet, they were the ones who agreed to investigate an unlikely prospect. Their open-mindedness turned a strange moment into a lucky break.
People who spot and seize opportunity are different. They are more open to life’s forking paths, so they see possibilities others miss. And if things don’t work out the way they’d hoped, they brush off disappointment and launch themselves headlong toward the next fortunate circumstance. As a result, they’re happier and more likely to achieve their goals.
Psychologists are figuring out why some people always seem to juggle incredible opportunities. Their insights can help us all lead luckier lives.
To read about these insights and the rest of the article, click here.
Loss of libido and difficulty having sex are common complaints among breast cancer survivors, new research confirms.
More than two-thirds of surveyed survivors reported that they were still having sexual function problems two years after diagnosis. Most described their sex lives as satisfying before breast cancer.
Women taking aromatase inhibitors as treatment for their breast cancer reported more sexual problems than women taking tamoxifen.
Body image issues and vaginal dryness related to aromatase inhibitor use were among the most frequently mentioned complaints.
“Sexual problems are among the most common and least talked about side effects of breast cancer treatment,” study co-author Susan R. Davis, MD, of Victoria, Australia’s Monash University Medical School tells WebMD.
“About 70% of the women in our study were experiencing a meaningful loss of desire and sexual function a full two years after diagnosis.”
By Salynn Boyles
WebMD Health News
Treatment for certain cancers can affect your sexuality, causing a range of signs and symptoms that can make sex with your partner more difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy sex life after cancer treatment. Knowing more about your cancer treatment and how it may affect sexual function can help you find a solution if problems develop.
For more information please visit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-treatment/SA00070
Hilarious comic, motivational speaker and two-time cancer survivor Mack Dryden inspires and entertains at conferences and celebrations nationwide.
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Also known as RC Cancer Centers.