Side Effects of Orchietomy in Prostate Cancer

Hormone therapy is one of the most widely used prostate cancer treatments. Compared to other forms of treatment, hormone therapy is less invasive and less expensive. The goal of hormone therapy is to suppress the male hormones, which feeds the prostate cancer cells. Note that prostate cancer is directly connected with the male hormone and the male reproductive organ. As it is, the cancer cells thrive on the male hormones.

One of the best ways to fight prostate cancer is to undergo orchietomy. Orchietomy is a surgical procedure to remove testicles, which is the main source of male hormones. Prostate cancer is directly related to the male hormones and suppressing the male hormone will retard the cancer. Although the procedure is relatively simple, inexpensive and often times effective, this is permanent. Around 90% of men who are treated with hormone therapy reported reduced sexual desire and impotence.

Side Effects to Expect

In most instances the patient who had undergone orchietomy suffers other side effects such as:

  • hot flashes (usually go away with time)
  • breast tenderness
  • growth in breast tissue
  • weakening of the bones or osteoporosis
  • low red blood cell counts or anemia
  • loss of muscle mass
  • lower mental sharpness
  • weight gain
  • lower levels of HDL cholesterol
  • depression
  • general tiredness

For the most part, treatment side effects are generally treatable. Osteoporosis for one, which usually cause bone fractures, can be readily treated.

Although a lot of the side effects can be treated, sensitive issues like impotency and sterility should be discussed thoroughly with the patient before he undergoes treatment. Before the patient undergoes any form of prostate cancer treatment, all options and possible side effects should be discussed. It would also greatly help to define the goals of the treatment.

More Invasive Treatments

Where the goal of the treatment is to remove the cancer cells from the patients system, then the patient should e made to understand the consequences involved in the treatment. Removing the cancer cells would generally involve more invasive treatments than merely shrinking or slowing down the growth of the cancer cells. As orchiotomy is one of the best options to remove the cancer cells, its process should be clearly discussed with the patient.

Managing the side effects of orchiotomy can be a bit more complicated depending on the attitude of the patient. Impotence is really a big issue in men with prostate cancer and should be explained fully to the patient. The patient should be made to understand that impotence really vary in degrees depending on the age and health of the person.

As the nerves that allow men to get erections may be damaged during treatment, these nerves dont usually stay inert forever. Note that in the first 3 to 12 months after the surgery or other form of treatment, it would be difficult to get an erection. Men who have just undergone prostate cancer treatment usually come out of it exhausted so it is normal that sexual drives could really be next to nothing. You dont really need to worry about it. As soon as you get your strength back, you will slowly gain back your sexual drive.