September 29, 2016

Quality of (sex) Life After Prostate Cancer

When you are going about your everyday life and are suddenly slammed with a cancer diagnosis, you may wonder how this will affect your regular activities. With prostate cancer, there are varying degrees of impact. For men with small, slow-growing cancer confirmed with proper diagnostics, their doctor may prescribe active surveillance, which means they will need to have regular check-ups to follow their cancer. Men who have prostate cancer that requires treatment will see more impact on their usual activity level, with the degree dependent on the treatment they pursue.

One activity men often fear being affected by a prostate cancer treatment is sexual activity, according to Vituro Health Medical Director Stephen Scionti, M.D., and this is for good reason. There is significant risk of sexual dysfunction after traditional prostate cancer treatments such as surgery — more than 50 percent of men experience erectile dysfunction and even more will experience orgasmic dysfunction. This side effect is believed to be part of the reason 74 percent of men aged 50+ avoid prostate cancer screenings.

“The major fear associated with traditional prostate cancer treatments is having to pay the price in terms of quality of life,” Dr. Scionti says. “This is commonly mentioned by patients in the baby boomer generation who are far more concerned about quality of life than their fathers were.”

The outcomes of traditional treatments are in part what prompted a major change in how prostate cancer is screened for in the U.S. today.

“One of the main reasons why the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against PSA testing was concern that PSA screening led to over diagnosis of prostate cancer and overtreatment, which led to side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, because in many cases the treatment was worse than the disease,” Dr. Scionti explains.

But, Dr. Scionti says, this no longer has to be the case. .

“With the technology we have available now, physicians have a better opportunity to preserve erectile function for men facing some prostate cancers,” says Dr. Scionti.

This technology includes multiparametric prostate MRI and MRI fusion-guided prostate biopsy which help properly diagnose, locate and stage cancer, as well as guide treatment. MRI fusion-guided high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses focused ultrasound targeted to the tumor region to destroy the abnormal prostate tissue precisely so that neighboring structures are not damaged, thus, reducing the side effect profile.

“By properly utilizing the diagnostics and treatment technology we have today, in well selected patients I feel very confident we can achieve excellent outcomes in terms of treatment of their disease and give that man a better quality of life,” said Dr. Scionti.

To learn more about Vituro Health’s comprehensive prostate care, call: 866-4VITURO (848876).

Tags: Quality of life and sexual health


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