People may have side effects after prostate cancer treatment that affect their quality of life. However, there are several therapies and forms of support for life after prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the type of cancer that doctors
Most prostate cancer
This article discusses the side effects of prostate cancer treatment and how to lower the risk of prostate cancer returning. It also discusses what to do if the cancer returns and how to find support when living with prostate cancer.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
People who undergo some treatments, such as radiation therapy and radical prostatectomy, may have urinary problems afterward,
- urinary incontinence, or leaking urine by accident
- urinary impotence, or difficulty urinating
After prostate surgery, typical bladder function generally returns within several weeks or months. There is no way to predict which side effects a person may experience. However, older males are
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual functioning side effect of prostate cancer treatment. Research has found that up to
Infertility and dry orgasm
Radical prostatectomy surgery is a treatment for prostate cancer that involves removing the prostate. It causes a person
If a person knows they will need treatment and wishes to have children, doctors may encourage them to bank sperm before the treatment begins. However, in some cases, fertility specialists may be able to surgically retrieve sperm cells from a person’s testicles.
According to a
- energy conservation
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- nutritional therapy
Doctors will ask people about any signs of side effects
People should tell healthcare professionals about any new symptoms or problems. These may be the result of the cancer returning.
Follow-up appointments can include tests and screenings such as:
- prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests every 6 months for 5 years after treatment, and then yearly
- digital rectal exams if doctors have not removed the person’s prostate
- bone scans
- imaging scans
After treatment, people
- a follow-up appointment and screening schedule
- side effects to watch for
- when to contact a doctor
- a health improvement plan
- ways to lower the risk of cancer returning
Eat a nutritious diet
A person’s outlook
- whole grains
A person may also be able to improve their outlook by limiting or avoiding:
- added sugars
The American Cancer Society (ACS) gives
- Adults should try to get 150–300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week.
- People should limit sedentary activities such as sitting, lying down, watching television, and other screen-related activities.
Stop or avoid smoking
According to the
Seek sexual health treatment
Several sexual health treatments are available for people after prostate cancer treatment. These include treatments for ED,
- oral medication, including phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors such as Viagra and Cialis
- intracavernous penile injections
- vacuum erection devices
- surgical implants
Information and support
If prostate cancer returns after treatment, doctors
Doctors may recommend surveillance instead of treatment. Since prostate cancer often grows slowly, it may not cause problems for years.
The ACS provides a 24/7 cancer support hotline at 1-800-227-2345. More resources and information are
The following are some questions people frequently ask about life after prostate cancer.
What is the average life expectancy after prostate cancer?
People with low grade prostate cancer that has not spread often live for
Can you live a normal life after prostate cancer?
People may be able to live a typical life after prostate cancer. If a person has no symptoms, prostate cancer should have little or no effect on their everyday activities.
Prostate cancer treatment can cause side effects. However, people may be able to live a typical life after treatment. Treatments, support resources, and medications can help reduce cancer’s impact on a person’s quality of life.
People can also try several lifestyle strategies to reduce the risk of prostate cancer returning, such as following a healthy and balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking, if applicable.
A person should speak with their healthcare professional about what they can expect from life after prostate cancer.