There are studies that attest that surgery for prostate cancer is a better option over radiation therapy. Choosing between Surgery vs Radiation vs CyberKnife requires thorough information and discussions with your doctor.
Most patients experience some or all of the following prostate cancer radiation therapy side effects:
Depending on the severity of these side effects, patients will be given anti-diarrheal medications or a medication to decrease the frequency of urination. Most symptoms are short-lived and diminish after the prostate cancer radiation therapy ends. Otherwise, patients typically continue with their normal daily activities during treatment.
Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy – Radiation does not remain in the body once treatment is done and it is completely safe to be in contact with other people. With permanent seed brachytherapy, the tissues absorb the radiation from the implant. Any items which are touched, including bodily waste, are radioactive. However, during the first couple of months after permanent seed brachytherapy, patients should maintain a distance of 6 feet or more from pregnant women or those trying to conceive. Avoid close physical contact with young children and pets for long periods of time.
Sexual function – Sexual intercourse can be resumed after the seed implant but condoms should be worn during the first week after the procedure. Most men experience erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer radiation therapy. The likelihood of prolonged impotence is determined by age, the use and duration of prostate cancer radiation therapy, smoking and other medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as certain medications. For most men, erectile dysfunction diminishes slowly over the first 2 years post-treatment. Men who are not on medications containing nitrate can use oral medications that improve erectile quality with great success.
Patients may experience a longer time to reach orgasm after prostate cancer radiation therapy. Some notice change in the nature of their ejaculate, such as thicker or less fluid or a decrease in the quantity or an absence of ejaculate after treatment, more so with EBRT than brachytherapy. After brachytherapy, the ejaculate may be discolored, dark-brown or even black. This is due to “old” blood from the procedure. It is harmless and will eventually clear.
Sperm production – Prostate cancer radiation therapy affecting the testicles may lead to a temporary reduction in sperm count and, in some cases, lead to a permanent reduction in sperm count or sterility. Patients who are considering conceiving should seek medical advice regarding fertility and sperm banking.
Testosterone production – The dosage of prostate cancer radiation therapy reaching the testicles is not high enough to impair normal functioning.
On a final note, in a study by Dr. Mark S. Soloway, professor and chairman of urology at the University of Miami, it was found that prostate cancer radiation therapy created a statistically significant higher risk of developing bladder or rectal cancer as compared to those who had undergone radical prostatectomy.