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Neglected side effects to curative prostate cancer treatments


In this narrative review we summarize neglected side effects of curative intended treatment for prostate cancer. They include climacturia, arousal incontinence (AI), orgasmic disturbances such as altered orgasmic sensation, anorgasmia, and orgasm-associated pain (dysorgasmia), ejaculatory dysfunction, and morphological penile alterations in the form of shortening and deformity. Even though they have not received as much interest as erectile dysfunction (ED) or urinary incontinence, these side effects have been shown to negatively impact patient’s quality of life. They are common and rates of climacturia after radical prostatectomy (RP) range from 20% and 45%, less after external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). Decreased orgasmic sensation ranges from 3.9% to 60% after RP and between 36–57% after EBRT. Dysorgasmia ranges from 9.5–15% for both RP and EBRT. Anejculation after EBRT ranges from 11–71% and rates of penile shortening are reported between 0 and 100%. There are no internationally validated questionnaires that adequately asses these side effects. This is necessary if we are to align patient and partner expectations properly and consequently manage them optimally. Neglected side effects should be discussed with patients and their partners preoperatively, as they are associated with bother and may lead to patient’s avoiding sexual activity.

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Correspondence to Mikkel Fode.

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MF is a speaker for Astellas Pharma and an advisor for Ferring Pharmaceuticals. The remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Nolsøe, A.B., Jensen, C.F.S., Østergren, P.B. et al. Neglected side effects to curative prostate cancer treatments. Int J Impot Res 33, 428–438 (2021).

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