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Viagra And Sex After Prostate Cancer

8 November 2012

While the use of Viagra (sildenafil) has become fairly mainstream, most men would certainly opt for the sexual potency to go without it. Whether man-to-man or patient-to-doctor, many Viagra discussions are initiated with, “Will I need Viagra after prostate cancer?” The answer, I believe, may be found in the treatment path a man chooses.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) after prostate cancer is a common concern and much can be read about sexual potency after prostate cancer treatment. Viagra is effective in helping men achieve erections after prostate cancer, but the duration of use may be directed by the treatment. My SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) procedure yields sexual potency in 85% of men just 12-24 months after surgery.

Some men are comfortable assuming Viagra will save the day regardless of treatment choice or outcome. Others focus on selecting a treatment path, such as robotic prostatectomy, that is more likely to deliver a natural sex life after prostate cancer.

A recent study at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found improved sexual function in men who took Viagra before, during, and after radiation therapy; however, the length of time Viagra is needed requires further study.

This is an important distinction for men and their partners to consider. With SMART surgery men tend to experience continued improvement in their sexual potency in the weeks and months following surgery. Short-term use of Viagra can help. In contrast, sexual potency after radiation does not typically improve with time and Viagra or other ED treatments may be required long-term or permanently.

The hope for all men is that spontaneous erections are fully restored but many factors outside of treatment choice, such as age and prior erectile function, also play a role.

Viagra and other similar medications can be useful tools for penile rehabilitation after prostate cancer. But Viagra doesn’t work for everyone and it may not be safe for everyone, especially those with heart conditions.

I work closely with patients and their partners during every phase of prostate cancer treatment and recovery. As needed, I assist men with ED medication and even penile implant referrals, should potency issues remain.


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