Because prostate cancer affects men only, and some patients are uncomfortable discussing their conditions publicly, NJU’s Cancer Treatment Centers provide a comfortable alternative to general hospital radiation suites where patient populations are mixed.
Some areas of particular concern to men during treatment include:
Radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer may have side effects, including:
- Pain with bowel movements
- Rectal urgency
- Loose stools
- Rectal bleeding
Although uncomfortable and unpleasant, these symptoms will typically subside within a few weeks following treatment.
Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported side effects of radiation treatment. It’s also often a by-product of anxiety and depression, which are natural responses to a cancer diagnosis. The key to managing fatigue is to monitor your body’s signals and manage your activity accordingly. Prioritize your needs and manage your schedule as best you can to avoid exhaustion. If possible, continue to exercise and maintain an active schedule during your treatment. Most patients will recover their energy levels within four months of completing radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy can cause hormonal changes that can have an impact on fertility. It’s possible that a man’s sperm count may be reduced during and after treatment, which may render them unable to father children. However, for those who are able to conceive after treatment, radiation will not affect the health of either mother or child.
Patients who are interested in speaking to others who have experienced prostate cancer can contact us to obtain a list of peer counselors from our patient population.
Radiation therapy may cause impotence or loss of sexual interest during and/or after prostate cancer treatment. In most cases, desire and/or sexual function return completely after treatment and most couples resume their previous levels of sexual activity.
Both prostate cancer and radiation therapy can cause urinary and bladder problems in some patients. Symptoms may include:
- Burning during or after urination
- Trouble initiating or sustaining a urine stream
- The need to urinate frequently
- Swelling of the urinary tract
- Urinary Incontinence
- Blood in the urine
- Occasional bladder spasms
For the majority of patients, these symptoms will go away completely within 4 to 6 weeks after treatment is complete.