Clinically applicable model 'could help predict erectile dysfunction'

21 September 2011

Cancer treatment for prostate cancer can leave a risk of erectile dysfunction, but a new model seems to be helpful in predicting the probability after surgery, research suggests.

The model could give predictions as to whether the patient will have erectile function two years after receiving a prostatectomy, external radiotherapy or brachytherapy to treat the cancer.

Led by Mehrdad Alemozaffar of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, the study carried out an investigation to find if a man's sexual outcome following the most common therapies causes problems with erections later in life.

Researchers wrote in the September 21st issue of JAMA: "Because most patients survive early-stage prostate cancer after treatment, health-related quality-of-life outcomes have emerged as a major emphasis in treatment decisions. Erectile dysfunction is commonplace after prostate cancer treatment."

The research discovered that two years after the men had received treatment, 35 per cent who underwent a prostatectomy reported they were able to achieve functional erections, while 37 per cent who underwent external radiotherapy experienced the same results.

In 2008, 37,051 men in the UK were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Alemozaffar M. et al., "Prediction of Erectile Function Following Treatment for Prostate Cancer", JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011; 306 (11): 1205 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.1333

M. J. Barry. Helping Patients Make Better Personal Health Decisions: The Promise of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011; 306 (11): 1258 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.1363

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