Major Complications and Their Treatment

Incontinence and impotence are the two most-feared complications of prostate cancer treatment. They are the Scylla and Charybdis of prostate voyagers, and rare is the man who successfully sails by both without being affected by one or the other. Even men who elect watchful waiting as their option may experience them as their cancer increases in size. Although incontinence and impotence have been briefly discussed in preceding chapters, their importance for men with prostate cancer merits a chapter of their own.

It is vital, however, to place incontinence and impotence in proper perspective. For men whose cancer has grown beyond the prostate or spread to other organs, incontinence and impotence do not loom so large. As Anatole Broyard noted: ''In my own case, after a brush with death, I feel that just to be alive is a permanent orgasm.''1 Arguments abound about which is worse, incontinence or impotence. Walsh and Worthington, in their book Dr. Patrick Walsh's Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer, argue that ''recovery of urine control is far more important and . . . casts a far greater shadow on your life. If something's wrong with your ability to urinate, you'll be reminded of it several times a day—or worse, several times an hour— not just a few times a week or month.'' On the other hand, many men share the opinion of Charles Williams, who wrote that ''not

even the threat of death chilled me to the bone as much as the prospect of never being able to make love again.'' Many urologists agree that ''once the dust settles on issues of cancer control and incontinence, erectile dysfunction is the lingering quality of life compromise for many men.''2 For any specific man, the choice of which is worse is usually easy to make: it is whichever affects him more.

Dealing With Erectile Dysfunction

Dealing With Erectile Dysfunction

Whether you call it erectile dysfunction, ED, impotence, or any number of slang terms, erection problems are something many men have to face during the course of their lifetimes.

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