The Dysfunctional Side of Colon Cancer

Erectile dysfunction is a common side effect of colon cancer treatment

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) You should know about all the possible risks and benefits of any medical procedure you have. Men undergoing treatment for colon cancer aren't getting the information they need.

In a new study, most men had erectile dysfunction (ED) after colon cancer treatment, but were never given any notice that this could be a possible side effect.

"Know the side effects of any procedure. "

Researchers in the UK interviewed men diagnosed with and treated for colon cancer. Most of the patients had not been warned that ED was a possible or likely side effect of the treatment, and most weren't being properly treated for the condition. 

Another alarming aspect of the interview was that many of the patients' concerns about erectile dysfunction were dismissed by medical staff.

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be approximately 100,00 new cases of colon cancer in the United States in 2011.

A common treatment is surgical removal of either the tumor, or a smal section of the colon in more advanced stages of the disease. Colon cancer has a high survival rate  - close to 58 percent of patients are alive five years after treatment.

According to the study, a more consistent approach is needed to provide patients with thorough information about possible side effects from colon cancer treatment.

Larissa Temple M.D., a colorectal surgeon at the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York, suggests that looking at successful treatments of erectile dysfunction could help.

Dr. Temple also recommends looking at the role the patient's partner plays to determine how they could assist in sexual recovery.

This study was published in the British Medical Journal.

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Review Date: 
October 18, 2011
Last Updated:
October 18, 2011