Removal of the prostate gland results in erectile dysfunction, or impotence, in 60 percent of men undergoing the surgery for prostate cancer, according to a new study surveying patients 2 years after surgery. Of the 1,291 men questioned, those who had a type of surgery that preserves a nerve extending to the prostate region had slightly lower rates of impotence.
Roughly 5 percent of all the men were incontinent after but not before the surgery, Janet L. Stanford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and her colleagues report in the Jan. 19 Journal of the American Medical Association. Only about one-third of the patients said they had total urinary control. The rest had occasional leakage.
The findings of this study, the first of its kind, will help physicians as they counsel patients on treatment options for prostate cancer, Stanford and her colleagues say.