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Prostate Cancer

You Ask — We Answer

Dr. Fabio Castiglione Urologist London

Does sex reduce a man’s risk for prostate cancer?

Research does suggest that certain aspects of sex, like number of sexual partners, age at first intercourse, and ejaculation frequency might affect prostate cancer risk. However, more research is needed before doctors can “prescribe” sex as a definite way to reduce risk. 

Some prostate cancer risk factors, like age, ethnicity, and genetics are out of a man’s control. But keeping healthy habits can go a long way to reduce risk for cancer and other serious health conditions. Experts advise men to:

  • Follow a sensible diet

  • Lose excess weight

  • Get enough exercise

  • Quit smoking

  • Practice safe sex

Men who are concerned about their risk for cancer should speak to their doctor

What kinds of sexual problems might cancer patients face?

Unfortunately, cancer and its treatment can lead to sexual problems.
Treatments like radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may interfere with the body’s ability to secrete sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Treatments can also disrupt the body’s sexual response cycle. For example, many cancer survivors cope with erectile dysfunction or trouble with lubrication.
Sexual issues may occur even if the cancer doesn’t affect sexual organs, as in the case of head and neck cancer survivors. Sexual dysfunction can also appear long after the treatment is completed; some male childhood cancer survivors develop erectile dysfunction years later.
Sexual function after cancer often depends on the type of cancer a person has and the type of treatment he or she receives. Sometimes, patients can consider sexual function when they plan their cancer treatment.  However, finding the best way to treat the cancer should still be the priority.
The slides that follow discuss some of the more common sexual issues for cancer patients and survivors.

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