Welcome to the redesigned Prostate Health Website which is maintained by the South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcomes Collaborative (SAPCCOC). This site is designed for:

  • Men and their families diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
  • Clinicians and other health professionals who need information on Prostate Cancer education issues.

What is prostate cancer?

Side Effects

Many men understand that when prostate cancer is caught early, it can be treated effectively, and the primary treatment options for localized disease are all excellent choices. However, many men also have significant concerns about the side effects of these treatments.

The concerns are justified, but there are many misunderstandings about how often side effects occur, how severe they really are and what can be done to manage them and counteract their occurrence.

Many of the side effects that men fear most following local treatment are often less frequent and severe than they might think, thanks to:

  • Technical advances in both surgery and radiation therapy
  • Researchers persistently seeking new ways to help overcome side effects
  • Improvements in treatment delivery

It’s still important to understand how and why these effects occur, and to learn how you can minimize their impact on your daily life.

Depending on the treatment strategy used, some or all of these effects might be present. It’s also important to realize that not all symptoms are normal, and that some require immediate care.

The below table is an attempt to compare three of these side effects across the different local therapies (NNSRP=non-nerve sparing radical prostatectomy, NSRP=nerve sparing radical prostatectomy, EBRT=external beam radiation therapy, BT=brachytherapy).

Each table shows the proportion of men three years after therapy with sexual dysfunction (left), bowel problems (middle), and urinary incontinence (right).

  • Yellow indicates normal function
  • Blue indicates mild dysfunction
  • Red indicates more severe dysfunction

These figures are shown for men with normal function prior to therapy.

Reproduced from the Journal of Clinical Oncology 2009; 27: 3916-3922.

Of course, exact figures will differ across institutions and surgeons or radiation oncologists. The figures here are only meant to be a guide to help understand these risks over time. The numbers will also differ if there is already dysfunction present prior to surgery or radiation, as the risks of side effects are increased in this setting.

If you have erectile dysfunction before either surgery or radiation, the therapy will not reverse that. In contrast, urinary obstruction symptoms can often improve after surgery and occasionally after radiation. Urinary incontinence can also improve after these local therapies.


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For information of support services and groups in Australian States please visit:



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Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
51-53 Chandos St
St Leonards, NSW 2065.
Phone: 02 9438 7000
Free Call: 1800 220 099
Website: http://www.prostate.org.au

 The Cancer Council South Australia
202 Greenhill Rd,
Eastwood  SA 5063.
Phone: 08 8291 4111
Free Call: 1800 188 070
Website: http://www.cancersa.org.au/

The Cancer Council ACT
5 Richmond Ave,
Fairbairn ACT 2609,
Phone: 02 6257 9999
Website www.actcancer.org

The Cancer Council NSW
153-161 Dowling St,
Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011.
Phone: 02 9334 1900
Fax: 02 9358 1452
Website: http://www.nswcc.org.au/

The Cancer Foundation of Western Australia
46 Ventnor Avenue
West Perth, WA 6005
PH: 08 9212 4333
Website: http://www.cancerwa.asn.au/

The Cancer Council Queensland
PO Box 201, Spring Hill,
QLD 4005.
Phone: 07 3258 2200
Fax: 07 3257 1306
Website: http://www.qldcancer.com.au/

The Cancer Council Tasmania
180-184 Collins St
Phone: 03 6233 2030
Fax: 03 6233 2123

Cancer Support Centres at:
216 Charles Street, Launceston
103 Oldaker Street, Devonport
58b Cattley Street, Burnie
Website:  http://www.cancertas.org.au

The Cancer Council Victoria
1 Rathdowne St,
Carlton South, VIC 3053.
Phone: 03 9635 5000
Fax: 03 9635 5270
Website: http://www.accv.org.au/

The Cancer Council NT
PO Box 42719,
Casuarina NT 0811.
Phone: 08 8927 4888
Fax: 08 8927 4990
Website: http://www.cancercouncilnt.com.au

The Cancer Council Australia
GPO Box 4708,
Sydney NSW 2001.
Phone: (02) 8063 4100
Fax: (02) 8063 4101
Website: http://www.cancer.org.au

Australian Cancer Network
GPO Box 4708
Sydney, NSW 2000.
Phone: (02) 9380 9177
Fax: (02) 9280 9277
Website: http://www.cancer.org.au/acn.htm

Cancer Voices Australia
GPO Box 4708
Sydney NSW 2001
Ph: 02 9036 3109
Fax: 02 9036 3101
Website:  http://www.cancervoicesaustralia.org.au

Andrology Australia
c/o Monash Institute of Medical Research
27-31 Wright Street, Clayton, Vic. 3168
Ph: 1300 303 878
Fax:03 9594 7111
Website: http://www.andrologyaustralia.org


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