The link between Erectile Dysfunction and prostate cancer treatment

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a potential complication after prostate cancer treatment. Sexual dysfunction after radical prostatectomy affects 25-75% of men1.

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The nerves that control an erection lie very close to the prostate, and may be injured during prostate cancer treatment. Prostate cancer treatments can affect your ability to get an erection on a temporary or permanent basis. If normal sexual function does not return, treatment options are available.


The return to normal sexual function after prostate cancer treatment depends on your sex life before surgery, a supportive partner, the stage of your cancer, and the surgery itself. Many men begin to see a return to normal erections within 3 to 6 months of prostate cancer treatment2. Other men find that their erections do not return. Should erectile dysfunction persist, there are treatment options for every man. Why wait, if you feel you are not seeing a return of your erections 6 months after your cancer treatment, talk to your urologist for what options might be suitable for you.


Your erectile dysfunction treatment may actually start before surgery with oral medications. A penis pump may be added after surgery to help increase blood flow to your penis during recovery. If ED persists, the penile implant may be an option. The implant is concealed inside the body. It offers support for an erection whenever and wherever desired.

Many patients find support from patient associations helpful during recovery after prostate cancer treatment. They may even have a chapter in your area.

Prostate Cancer UK: http://www.prostatecanceruk.org
Movember Foundation: http://www.movember.com


Sexual dysfunction after radical prostatectomy affects 25-75% of men1.


For men facing prostate cancer, the first worry is about dying. The second worry is whether the treatment will kill their sex life.

  • Even with nerve-sparing robotic surgery, erectile dysfunction may persist a year or more after surgery3
  • Penile implants have helped men return to an active, satisfying sex life after prostate cancer




What does recovery mean to you? Some men define it as a return to confident sex4. It is common for men to start with oral medications before or after surgery. Other treatment options include penile implants, vacuum devices, topical cream, injections and urethral pellets. Some treatments may be more effective than others for you. For men with long-term erectile dysfunction, penile rehabilitation may help3.


Finding a satisfying solution to erectile dysfunction can be a life-changing event for many men and their partners. In one study of 200 patients and 120 partners, both men and their partners found the penile implant to be satisfying. 92% of patients and 96% of their partners reported sexual activity to be excellent or satisfactory5. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

Understand the link between your symptoms & Erectile Dysfunction

Treatment is available for all men with Erectile Dysfunction

Find an Implanter to discover the best solution for your ED


  1. Matthew AG, Goldman A, Trachtenberg J, et al. Sexual dysfunction after radical rostatectomy: prevalence, treatments, restricted use of treatments and distress. J Urol. 2005 Dec;174(6):2105-10.
  2. Catalona, Dr. William J. Sexual Potency After a Radical Prostatectomy. http://www.drcatalona.com/qa/faq_rp-potency.asp. Urological Research Foundation Website. Accessed December 22, 2014.
  3. Haglind E, Carlsson S, Stranne J, et al. Urinary Incontinence and Erectile Dysfunction after Robotic Versus Open Radical Prostatectomy: A Prospective Controlled Nonrandomized Trial. Eur Urol. 2015 Mar 11.Pii: S0302-2838(15)00194-3.
  4. Wittmann D, Carolan M, Given B, et al. What couples say about their recovery of sexual intimacy after prostatectomy: Toward the development of a conceptual model of couples’ sexual recovery after surgery for prostate cancer. J Sex Med. 2015 Feb;12(2):494-504.
  5. Mulhall JP, Bivalacqua TJ, Becher EF. Standard operating procedure for the preservation of erectile function outcomes after radical prostatectomy. J Sex Med. 2013 Jan;10(1):195-203.
  6. Montorsi R, Rigatti P, Carmingnani G, et al. AMS three-piece inflatable implants for erectile dysfunction: a long-term multi-institution study in 200 consecutive patients. Eur Urol. 2000;37:50-55.


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