Managing Long-Term Side Effects in Prostate Cancer ‘Really Important’


Managing and mitigating long-term side effects in prostate cancer survivors are “really important,” as it affects quality of life, an expert said.

After prostate cancer, it’s also important to think about possible long-term side effects and potential ways to mitigate them. Some long-term side effects of prostate cancer may include urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control, which may occur after surgery for prostate cancer, and is typically temporary in approximately 6% to 8% of patients who underwent surgery to remove their prostates.

READ MORE: Find the ‘Goldilocks’ of Prostate Cancer Treatment or Surveillance

“This is nothing to be ashamed of,” Dr. Stephanie Berg told CURE®, regarding patients and survivors talking about prostate cancer and screening. “If you have prostate cancer, just talk to your friends, [tell them] that you were diagnosed with it [and] make sure they are screened properly."

Berg is a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Lank Center of Genitourinary Oncology.

She noted that long-term side effects impact survivors’ quality of life, which is why it is important for survivors to speak with their urologists and medical oncologists about ways to effectively mitigate these side effects via devices and surgeries.

CURE® spoke with Berg about the importance of managing long-term side effects and how survivors may overcome symptoms after treatment.


Here, especially at Dana-Farber, and a lot of our bigger cancer centers is about survivorship. And survivorship is something where you’re managing incontinence, which is when you leak urine or have trouble going to the bathroom after surgery, or even radiation, which is really important because that's quality of life.

There are a lot more urologists [who], since they specialize in the urinary system, can dedicate their practices to helping men overcome this, whether it be with medications that are available, or surgical techniques to actually help whatever caused the thing in the first place.

I find it really interesting. I know, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, we have two dedicated urologists that really focus on post-procedurectomy, urinary problems for men, it's the fact that it can be so common for someone to do that. It's worth mentioning that we can help you. And the same with erectile dysfunction. I mean, other than just medication, there are other surgical techniques and even devices that can be discussed with your urologist and your medical oncologists to help overcome those types of symptoms after surgery or radiation therapy. So an important part of cancer care is that care afterwards to maintain you living as long as possible.

Transcript was edited for clarity and conciseness.

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