Course Content
1. Introduction to Prostate Cancer
o Understanding the prostate gland o Overview of prostate cancer o Risk factors and epidemiology
2. Signs and Symptoms
o Common signs and symptoms o When to seek medical attention o Diagnostic tests and screening guidelines
3. Diagnosis and Staging
o Biopsy procedures and interpretation o Staging techniques (TNM system) o Imaging modalities for staging
6. Nutrition and Lifestyle Considerations
o Diet and nutrition recommendations o Exercise and physical activity guidelines o Stress management techniques
Understanding Prostate Cancer: Online Course for Patients & Caregivers
About Lesson


Sexual dysfunction is a common side effect of prostate cancer treatment, impacting quality of life for many patients. Understanding the causes, assessment, prevention, and management strategies for sexual dysfunction is essential for comprehensive prostate cancer care.

Causes of Sexual Dysfunction:

  1. Hormone Therapy:

    • Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), a mainstay of treatment for advanced prostate cancer, reduces testosterone levels, leading to decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and other sexual issues.
  2. Surgery:

    • Radical prostatectomy, while effective in treating localized prostate cancer, can damage nerves and blood vessels essential for erectile function, resulting in erectile dysfunction.
  3. Radiation Therapy:

    • Both external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and brachytherapy can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels in the pelvic area, leading to erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems.
  4. Psychological Factors:

    • Prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment can cause psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and body image concerns, which may contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Assessment and Screening:

  1. Patient History:

    • Clinicians should routinely assess patients’ sexual function, including libido, erectile function, orgasmic function, and overall sexual satisfaction, using standardized questionnaires (e.g., International Index of Erectile Function, Sexual Health Inventory for Men).
  2. Physical Examination:

    • A thorough physical examination, including assessment of genitalia, neurological function, and signs of hormonal abnormalities, can help identify potential causes of sexual dysfunction.
  3. Laboratory Tests:

    • Serum hormone levels (e.g., testosterone) may be measured to evaluate the impact of hormone therapy on sexual function and guide treatment decisions.

Prevention Strategies:

  1. Patient Education:

    • Educating patients and their partners about the potential sexual side effects of prostate cancer treatment and discussing realistic expectations can help manage anxiety and facilitate coping strategies.
  2. Early Intervention:

    • Early initiation of interventions to preserve erectile function, such as penile rehabilitation programs, may improve long-term outcomes following prostate cancer treatment.

Management Strategies:

  1. Pharmacotherapy:

    • Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil) are commonly used as first-line therapy for erectile dysfunction following prostate cancer treatment.
    • Other medications, such as vacuum erection devices, intraurethral suppositories, and penile injections, may be considered for patients who do not respond to oral agents.
  2. Psychosexual Support:

    • Counseling, sex therapy, and couples counseling can help address psychological factors contributing to sexual dysfunction and improve communication and intimacy between partners.
  3. Alternative Therapies:

    • Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbal supplements, and mindfulness-based practices may offer adjunctive benefits in managing sexual dysfunction, although evidence supporting their efficacy is limited.

Online Resources for Further Learning:

Explore the following online resources to learn more about managing sexual dysfunction in prostate cancer patients:

Takeaway Assignment:

Assign students to develop a patient education pamphlet or infographic on managing sexual dysfunction in prostate cancer patients. The educational material should include information on common sexual side effects, prevention strategies, available treatments, and resources for support. Encourage students to use clear language, visual aids, and evidence-based content to empower patients and their partners in addressing sexual health concerns. This assignment will help students enhance their communication skills and knowledge of supportive care interventions in prostate cancer management.

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