The life of a cancer patient is affected from all sides, as the injury limits the patient’s ability to carry out his daily activities and work, and may also affect the marital relationship with a life partner, especially if the cancer is related to the reproductive system.

In this article, we discuss the impact of prostate cancer on the marital relationship, and answer the most common questions patients have about prostate and erectile cancer.

Prostate gland cancer

It is one of the most common types of cancer that affects men after skin cancer, where prostate cells divide excessively and uncontrollably, and the cancerous tumor may grow so large that it can reach the closure of the urethra, through which urine passes from the bladder to outside the body.

The entire prostate cancer experience, including the steps of radiation therapy, hormonal therapy or surgery, affects how well a couple has sexual relations, but most problems are temporary or manageable, and can be managed with continued treatment. (1)(5)

Prostate and erectile cancer

It occurs in the vast majority of prostate cancer patients, as the rate reaches about 80% of patients, which means the inability to keep the penis erect enough for penetration.

There is a strong relationship between prostate cancer and erections, as the prostate is located in the body in a very sensitive site, it is located near the main nerves, blood vessels, and muscles responsible for erections.

Various cancer treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy damage the cells in those areas, making the process of erection or reaching an orgasm very difficult. As for hormonal therapy, it reduces the levels of testosterone in the body, so a man loses sexual desire and weakens his performance during intercourse. (3)(4)

The effect of prostate cancer on sexual relations

Prostate cancer patients or those who have been treated for prostate cancer suffer from some problems related to sexual intercourse and reproductive opportunities, including the following:

  • Loss of sexual desire.
  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Decreased semen production.
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  • Orgasms without semen.
  • Problems with the ability to conceive.
  • Poor performance as a result of stress and anxiety during intercourse.

These problems persist with a prostate cancer patient for several weeks or more, depending on the type of treatment the patient receives and the extent of his response. Men who underwent surgery or received radiation therapy showed improvement in sexual intercourse within about a year since the start of treatment. (3)(6)

Sex after prostate cancer

The effect of prostate cancer on the sexual relationship is not permanent. Treatment requires time and patience, and consulting the doctor about one of the treatment options that helps the patient to return to the practice of marital relationship again. Among those treatment options are the following:

  1. Oral medications: There are many oral medications that improve blood flow to the penis and help with erection, such as sildenafil and vardenafil.
  2. Topical creams such as Alprostadil.
  3. Pumps: Penis pumps draw blood into the penis just before sexual intercourse. They are suitable for men who have an erection, but for a short time.
  4. Local injections or implants in the penis.
  5. Herbal supplements such as ginseng and yohimbe.

A healthy lifestyle based on exercise such as Kegel exercises, quitting smoking, and eating healthy meals also helps to improve the patient’s condition and restore his sexual life (2).

The impact of prostate cancer on the marital relationship cannot be ignored, but it is recommended to talk to the wife and choose appropriate treatment methods for both parties, and discuss the new sexual life challenges that they face together, such as getting used to dry orgasms due to not producing enough semen.