Side effects of prostate cancer treatments

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
March 18, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
More than 186,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, according to the National Cancer Institute. And patients have their choice of treatments, each with their own set of side-effects.

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

There are several treatment options for men with prostate cancer. There's surgery to remove the prostate, radiation and hormone treatment. This week's New England journal of medicine took a look at how satisfied men were with the treatment they chose.

Eugene Tumolo, 63, had prostate cancer in 2005. He had surgery that removed his prostate but spared the nerves controlling sexual response and the bladder. Mild incontinence cleared in a few weeks and his sexual functioning?

"Even before the surgery I was functioning well and after the surgery I was functioning at the same level," said prostate cancer patient, Eugene Tumolo.

Mr. Tumolo's satisfaction with treatment was excellent. His case paralleled others in the study of prostate cancer treatment outcomes. Men like gene who had nerve-sparing surgery were happier about their treatment than men who had standard surgery and subsequent sexual or urinary problems.

"Cancer cure, sexual function and continence are the three things important to men diagnosed with prostate cancer as well as their partners and spouses," said Dr. David Samadi at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

Exactly, says the study. Partners of treated men had parallel responses. The more satisfied the men were after treatment, the more satisfied were their partners.

The report also looked at quality of life after radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

Treatments were with external radiation or with radioactive seeds put into the prostate. Seed patients had long lasting problems, urinary, bowel and sexual problems.

Both types of radiation were made worse by hormone treatments. Treated patients who were older, obese or African American had worse quality of life. If you have the cancer, your best chance for a good outcome?

"My advice is to take your time in making your decision," said Dr. Jamie Cesaretti at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. "But, get an excellent education prior to committing to actual treatment."

Many prostate cancers are slow-growing, so there's time to sit with your doctor and discuss your options, or time to get a second opinion. A good quality of life depends on a careful choice.

For more information click links below:

  • American Cancer Society
  • National Cancer Institute
  • The New England Journal of Medicine