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Nat Rev Urol. 2015 Mar;12(3):167-76. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2015.29. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

Psychosocial perspectives on sexual recovery after prostate cancer treatment.

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Department of Psychosocial Oncology, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 2202 2nd Street SW, Calgary, AB T2S 3C1, Canada.
Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre, Level 6, 2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9, Canada.


Many therapies for erectile dysfunction (ED) after prostate cancer treatment improve erectile firmness, yet, most couples stop using aids within 1-2 years. Patients and partners who expect immediate and complete success with their first ED treatment can be demoralized when they experience treatment failure, which contributes to reticence to explore other ED aids. Comprehensive patient education should improve sustainability and satisfaction with ED treatments. Pre-emptive and realistic information should be provided to couples about the probability of recovering natural erections. Beginning intervention early and using a couple-based approach is ideal. Recommendations are provided about the timing of ED treatment, the order of aid introduction, and combination therapies. Renegotiation of sexual activity is an essential part of sexual adaptation. From the outset of therapy, couples should be encouraged to broaden their sexual repertoire, incorporate erection-independent sexual activities, and continue to be sexual despite ED and reduced libido.

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