Treating Erectile Dysfunction After Brachytherapy

Men with prostate cancer who undergo brachytherapy can maintain erectile function at one year after therapy, according to a new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. For optimal sexual function, however, most men will need some help from either erectile dysfunction drugs or sexual aids such as penis pumps.

Brachytherapy is a form of radiation treatment for prostate cancer that involves implanting tiny, radioactive “seeds” into the prostate gland. This minimally invasive procedure allows men to receive continuous radiation treatment over weeks or months.

In the current study, 129 men with prostate cancer were treated with I-125 (iodine 125) without other forms of radiation or hormone therapy. Before treatment, 56% of the men said they were able to achieve optimal erections.

At one year after brachytherapy, 62% of the men who had had optimal erectile function before treatment had maintained it. However, 58% of them needed erectile dysfunction drugs or prescribed sexual aids. Younger men were better able to maintain optimal erectile function than older men.