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Is It True I May Suffer From Erectile Dysfunction After Radiation Treatment?

I'm worried that the radiation used to treat my prostate cancer may cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. I know I should just ask my doctor about this, but I'm embarrassed. Is it true I may suffer from erectile dysfunction after radiation treatment?

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Unfortunately, it is quite possible that you may end up with erectile dysfunction (ED) after going through radiation treatment. In fact, it appears that prostate surgery and radiation are about equally likely to cause ED. With surgery, the problem occurs right away; with radiation, it develops slowly over a year or more.
Some studies show that about half of men without ED go on to develop it within five years of undergoing external beam radiation therapy. The first treatments usually tried for ED are the oral, Viagra®-type drugs, which can help some (but not all) men with radiation-induced ED. Studies show that older men are less likely to respond to these medications compared to younger men.
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