Prostate cancer doesn’t always mean the end of sex for men. Erectile dysfunctions, which affect up to half of prostate cancer survivors, can be treated and allow men to return to healthy sex lives, says Dr. Paul Perrotte, a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Surgery. uro-oncologist at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.
“Prostate cancer is a silent killer because there are no symptoms in the first phase of its progression,” says Dr. Perrotte. “This cancer can lead to urination problems, but by then it’s quite advanced. The only way to diagnose it is by having annual screenings, which is recommended to all men over 50.”
In Canada, one out of seven men will contract the disease and one out of 27 will die. Erectile dysfunctions can occur after surgery because the erectile nerves are very close to the prostate – having it removed can damage those nerves,” says Dr. Perrotte.
When surgery causes erectile dysfunction, 50 percent of men fully recuperate in three to 18 months. Still, damage will be permanent in 30 to 50 percent of cases depending on the severity of nerve damage.
According to Dr. Perrotte, erectile dysfunctions can be treated with medication such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitro. Some situations are more difficult and require a penile prosthesis, penile injections or even pumps.
Dr. Perrotte stresses that other health problems can lead to erectile dysfunction: 40 percent of cases are caused by diabetes and 30 percent result from atherosclerosis.
According to Danielle Daunais, a nutritionist at the CHUM Department of Radio-Oncology, the best medicine is usually prevention such as healthy eating. “Lycopene, mostly found in tomatoes, is the principal antioxidant affecting the prostate,” says Daunais. “Selenium, a trace element nutrient found in Brazil nuts, should also be on the menu.”
Vitamin E (almonds, sweet potatoes, avocados) and vitamin D (fish, milk, sun) both block the growth of cancerous cells. Other vegetables rich in antioxidants include cabbage (including broccoli and cauliflower), garlic, onion, leek, blueberries and cranberries.
If these foods don’t fit the bill, there’s nothing like ejaculation. Studies have shown that ejaculation protects the prostate from cancer.
On the Web:
- About the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Medicine
- About the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal
For more information, please contact:
International press attaché
Université de Montréal