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Men over 40 with a family history and all men over 50 should have screening according to current recommendations.

Men over 40 with a family history and all men over 50 should have screening according to current recommendations.
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Complications of prostate cancer and treatment

2-minute read

Sometimes, the treatment for prostate cancer can lead to complications including erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. There are many options to manage both of these problems.

Erectile dysfunction

If you have erection problems or you have lost the ability to obtain an erection, speak to your doctor.

Treatments for erectile dysfunction that you may consider include medications, injections into your penis, a number of devices or a surgical implant.

There are other procedures which can be utilised and your doctor will give you more information about your options.

MensLine Australia has a national helpline: 1300 78 99 78. You can call for a confidential chat.

Urinary incontinence

Incontinence or bladder leakage is experienced by many people after having prostate surgery for cancer. Most men will regain full bladder control within 6 to 12 months.

If your urinary incontinence is mild, you may be able to control it by learning some simple exercises. Pelvic floor exercises can strengthen your control over your bladder and changes in behaviour such as scheduling time to urinate each day can help. Sometimes medication may improve symptoms of incontinence.

There is a range of continence products available and you may be eligible for financial assistance for these. For more information on ways you can manage urinary incontinence after prostate cancer treatment, visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Depression

Your health issues may impact the way you feel. You can discuss this with your doctor, including the symptoms of depression, or you may find it helpful to talk to a trained counsellor, psychologist or specialist telephone helpline.

Some people find it helpful to talk to other people with prostate cancer at a local support group or through an internet chat room.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia has support groups in every state and territory. You can find out more information on their website.

The Cancer Council Helpline can be accessed from anywhere in Australia by calling 13 11 20 for the cost of a local call.

Last reviewed: October 2016

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