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Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Prostate cancer treatment may cause side effects both in the short- and long-term. At Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System, our caring team helps you manage these side effects so you can have a high quality of life.

Surgery and Radiation Therapy Side Effects

Many patients with prostate cancer have all or part of their prostate removed during surgery performed by a urologist. Many may opt for radiation therapy as a primary treatment or to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Both radiation therapy and surgery can lead to long-term side effects such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Your urologist can help you find appropriate treatment for these side effects.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

You may experience different side effects from chemotherapy depending on what type of chemotherapy drugs you are given. Most of these side effects will go away within one to three months after the end of your treatment and may include:

  • Anemia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakened immune system

You may also experience neuropathy, which is pain, numbness or tingling in your hands or feet. Unfortunately, neuropathy may become permanent after cancer treatment. If you experience neuropathy, tell your physician right away. 

Androgen Deprivation Therapy

To help prevent cancer recurrence, your oncologist may place you on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). This therapy reduces the amount of androgens (male hormones) in your body, which can increase your risk of prostate cancer.
ADT can cause the following side effects:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • High cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Hot flashes

You may see your oncologist as well as a urologist to manage some of these symptoms. At University of Miami Health, we have urologists who specialize in erectile dysfunction, providing comprehensive treatment such as:

  • Oral medication
  • Penile injections
  • Vacuum erection devices
  • Penile implants

It’s also important to have a primary care provider who can help you with obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Your primary care provider may recommend an exercise routine that can help with all three issues. They may also place you on medicines to improve your heart health.

Your primary care provider may also recommend strategies to improve fatigue and hot flashes. For instance, there are some medicines can help with hot flashes. Acupuncture has also been shown to help with hot flashes. A good night of sleep can also help. To sleep well and avoid nighttime hot flashes, you should avoid alcohol in the evening, wear light clothing to bed, and ensure your room is cold and dark.