Use of aids to erectile function after treatment for localized disease


A new study provides us with evaluated associations between demographic and clinical characteristics, quality of life outcome measures, and the use of aids to erectile function in men with prostate cancer.

In this study by Bergman et al., all patients were initially diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer, were not using any form of aid to erectile function at baseline and chose treatment with radical prostatectomy (275), external beam radiotherapy (70), or brachytherapy (80). Patient characteristics and health-related quality of life outcomes were assessed at baseline and at regular intervals up to 48 months after treatment. Outcomes were assessed using three different, well-validated surveys.

The authors categorized use of a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (e.g., Viagra), urethral alprostadil suppositories, penile injection therapy, or a vacuum erection device after treatment as use of an aid to erectile function.

The results of their study showed the following:

  • 237/425 patients (56 percent) used an erectile aid at some point during the post-treatment period.
  • Patients treated with external beam radiation were less likely to use an aid (OR 0.34).
  • Men with significant sexual bother (OR 2.68) or with one or more comorbidities (OR 1.80) were more likely to use an aid.
  • Patient demographic characteristics were not associated with use of aids to erectile function.

The interesting thing about this study is what is shows us about the widespread use of aids to erectile fucntion after treatment for localized prostate cancer, with more than half of the men in the study using an aid “at some point during the post-treatment period” for up to 4 years. Unfortunately, what is not clear (at least from the abstract) is what percentage of these patients still needed to use an aid at (say) 12, 24, 36, and 48 months after treatment. In other words, what is the degree of recovery of erectile function over time? Is there any at all?

One Response

  1. Yet another overly abstract abstract …

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