Side Effect Management

It helps to learn more about the side effects from your treatment(s) before you begin, so you will know what to expect. When you know more, you can work with your health care team to manage your quality of life during and after treatment.

There are effective and readily available medications to address traditional side effects from cancer treatment (such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation and mouth sores.) Also, as newer 'targeted therapies' become available, they tend to leave people with fewer traditional side effects.

Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to treatment and experiences side effects differently. There are coping mechanisms and strategies that can help.

Side Effects from Prostate Treatments

Side effects experienced for the treatment of Prostate Cancer vary. Following are the most common symptoms:


After surgery, some men lose control of the flow of urine, but most regain bladder control after a few weeks. Surgery can also damage the nerves around the prostate, causing impotence, which can be permanent. If the prostate is removed, men will no longer be able to produce semen and may want to consider sperm banking or retrieval before surgery.

Radiation Therapy 
Side effects depend on dose and type of radiation therapy. Fatigue is common, but doctors usually tell patients to remain active. Those receiving external radiation may experience diarrhea and uncomfortable urination and hair loss in the area of the radiation. Internal radiation can cause temporary incontinence. Both forms of radiation can cause impotence.

Hormone Therapy 
Hormone therapy can cause impotence, hot flashes and loss of sexual desire. Any treatment that lowers hormone levels can also weaken the bones.

Chemotherapy has different side effects depending on the type and dose of drugs given and the length of time they are taken. These side effects can include hair loss, mouth sores, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, increased chance of infections (due to low white blood cell counts), easy bruising or bleeding (due to low blood platelet counts) and fatigue (due to low red blood cell counts.) 

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