Impotence is one of the most challenging side effects of cancer that men have to face. Impotence often involves the inability to get or maintain an erection or to ejaculate.

However, many sexual problems can be treated or managed, depending on the cause of the problem.

Causes of impotence can be physical, psychological, or both. Physical causes include tumours affecting the sexual organs, surgery to remove these tumours, damage to the nerves, blood vessels or pelvis, hormonal changes, radiation to the pelvis, fatigue, and pain. Emotional ups and downs can also have an impact, including changes in self-image, mood disorders, fear about sexual performance, fear of pain, and feelings of embarrassment.

There are different techniques that may help reduce these symptoms:

  • Physiotherapy might help with relieving pain by stretching pelvic floor muscles.
  • Medications can be prescribed to increase blood flow to the penis to prevent erectile dysfunction.
  • In cases where medications cannot be taken, devices and prosthetics can be implanted to help with erectile dysfunction.