12 November 2010
All treatments for early prostate cancer are associated with a significantly increased risk of impotence (erectile dysfunction, ED), Australian researchers have reported at the annual meeting of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (9-11 November 2010).
The researchers interviewed 1642 NSW men with localised prostate cancer (cancer which has not spread beyond the prostate gland) to ask about outcomes. They found 97% of those treated with androgen deprivation therapy experienced erectile dysfunction 5 years later. (Androgen deprivation therapy, also known as 'hormone therapy', involves treatment with drugs designed to minimise the effect of testosterone on the body.)
Low-dose rate brachytherapy was the least harmful to sexual function. This treatment involves placing radioactive 'seeds' within the prostate to kill the tumour. Fewer than half (43%) of men who received this form of treatment experienced erectile dysfunction 5 years later.
Last Reviewed: 12 November 2010