What are the most common side effects of prostate cancer treatments ?

Side effects of prostate cancer treatments may vary depending on the severity of the cancer being treated and the chosen treatment. However, some side effects are more common because they are closely related to the prostate and its location. The two main side effects found with most therapies are urinary disorders/urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Urinary disorders refer to all kinds of symptoms: blood in the urine, bladder or urethra inflammation, frequent and urgent need to urinate, or even burning while urinating. Temporary or permanent urinary incontinence can also be a side effect. To limit unintended consequences of these effects, recommendations may vary from one treatment to another. For example, rehabilitation can be considered for incontinence and patients can be advised to drink plenty of non-carbonated water and avoid coffee and tea in order to have clear urine.

Erectile dysfunction refers to a loss in quality of erections. This depends on the quality of the erections before the treatment and may occur much later. Additional treatments can be offered to patients to improve this side effect.

What to do if you experience side effects?

If the patient thinks he or she is experiencing an unpleasant symptom, it is important that he or she quickly contact a doctor in order to identify the exact cause.