Can erectile dysfunction trigger a risk of prostate cancer in young men?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a man can’t get or keep an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. This can be due to body-related issues or psychological issues but can it trigger a risk of prostate cancer in young men?
Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability to achieve or maintain sufficient erection for satisfactory sexual activity where while a variety of physical or psychological factors may cause ED, it is one of the common symptoms among men. In other words, erectile dysfunction is when a man can’t get or keep an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse and this can be due to body-related issues or psychological issues.
The basic mechanism of erection is that any stimulation (such as thoughts or physical contact) sends a signal from the brain to the penis, which causes the corpora to relax so as to increase the blood flow and thus expansion and voilà, you have an erection but anything going wrong in this process leads to ED.
Prostate cancer is third most common cancer among Indian men and starts in the prostate region. It is the second most common type of cancer in men and the fourth most common type of cancer overall where the prostate and the penis are two different organs, but they are very closely related.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Kshitij Rahuvanshi, Robotic and Laparascopic Urologist at Ruby Hall in Pune, explained, “As seen in the surgical images, the nerves that carry erection messages from the brain to the penis travel over the prostate like a peal of orange covering the orange, so when there is advanced prostate cancer, which usually spreads outside the prostate gland, it involves these nerves and causes ED.”
He elaborated, “Erection issues being a sensitive issue as they are related to manhood, they are never discussed when there is a problem, and the golden period when treatment for prostate cancer could have been possible is lost. When the patient presents because of metastasis-related issues, they usually describe this as a common neglected symptom.”
Dr Avanish Arora, Director and Senior Consultant, Urology, Uro-oncology and Robotic Urology at Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital, shared, “Erectile dysfunction rarely can be one of alarming symptom of prostate cancer. As prostate cancer affects the pelvic area, which involves nerves and blood vessels responsible for a healthy blood flow to the penis, damage to the same can result in Erectile Dysfunction.”
He revealed, “Treatment for prostate cancer with surgery, radiation or hormonal ablation can lead to erectile dysfunction as a side effect. We thoroughly investigate patients suffering from ED for signs of prostate cancer. Digital rectal examination and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test are used to detect the presence of prostate cancer. Early detection and prompt treatment of prostate cancer can improve outcomes and reduce the risk of complications.”