The treatment for prostate cancer can involve active surveillance, radiation, and removal of the gland, known as radical prostatectomy (RP).
A survey of men who visited a sexual health clinic in the US following the removal of their prostate showed that they had “largely unrealistic expectations” of their sex lives after the procedure.
The 336 men, with an average age of 64, who took part in the survey attended the health clinic three months after the operation.
Patients were asked questions including whether they could achieve an erection, orgasm, and if they could ejaculate.
The team then assessed the difference between the men who underwent open surgery versus robotic RP, at a third and two thirds respectively.
The study showed that 88 per cent of open surgery and 91 per cent of robotic surgery patients could have sex before the procedure, Reuters reported.
However, only 38 per cent were aware before the procedure whether it would preserve their nerves, and in turn their sexual function.
Less than 10 per cent were aware that the surgery could decrease the length of their penis, while even fewer knew that their ability to reach orgasm could change, or that they would experience pain during sex.
While the researchers did not know how much information the patients were given by their doctors, they believe the findings suggest that men are not aware of the side-effects of the operation.
Dr. Joshua Meeks, a urologist affiliated with the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters: “I think it really highlights why it’s important to have their spouse there, because I think having another set of ears is incredibly helpful.”
– The Independent