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Prostate Cancer: Recovery

Jessica Evert, MD, edited by Benjamin McDonald, MD

Recovery from prostate cancer surgery requires a few days stay in the hospital and associated convalescence at home. Newer less invasive techniques are likely to shorten recovery times in the future. At this point in time there are risks for post-recovery incontinence and erectile dysfunction. These problems may diminish as recovery continues, or become a permanent fixture, creating their own associated concerns. Of particular concern to most men is the possibility of sustained erectile dysfunction which can make intercourse difficult or impossible. Even if erection ability returns after surgery, sexuality is fundamentally altered if it is no longer possible for post-surgical men to ejaculate. Though the prospect of sexual dysfunction is surely frightening, many men and their partners have met this challenge successfully and have managed to find ways to recreate a satisfying sexual life. Psychotherapy and sex therapy may be useful in facilitating recovery from grief associated with lost abilities, and to identify new ways to enjoy sex and intimate connection with partners.