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Prostate Cancer Radiation Side Effects


Prostate cancer is a serious ailment that affects prostate gland. This medical condition develops when an individual’s prostate gets affected by cancerous cells. Though prostate cancer has been usually found in males above 60 to 65 years, even younger males have been suffering from it. 


Amidst several kinds of treatment, radiation therapy is considered to be an effective treatment when it comes to prostate cancer. This treatment beams strong radiation over the cancerous prostate cells thus to burn them to their core. Despite the proven advantages and benefits of radiation therapy, it is also known for some of its side effects that may lead to medical complications.  


Read on to discover various side effects that may bother patients of prostate cancer:


Fatigue: One of the usual prostate cancer radiation side effects is feeling of intense tiredness and fatigue. This side effect can be dealt by taking enough rest and regular naps. A healthy diet is also beneficial in dealing with radiotherapy-related fatigue and exhaustion. However, this symptom vanishes after radiation therapy gets accomplished successfully.  


Incontinence: One of the critical side effects of radiation treatment is incontinence. It refers to inability in controlling bowel functions of defecation or urination. At the time of beaming of radiation towards prostate’s malignant, urinary bladder may also get exposed to radiation, and get damaged. This can lead to patient’s inability to control his urge to excrete. While in most of the cases, side effect of incontinence tends to get cured soon after radiation; some adverse cases may experience it for longer periods. This problem can be solved by resorting to another suitable treatment.  


Impotence: Impotence is another chief side effect faced by patients after taking radiation therapy. They suffer from erectile dysfunction as well as infertility, making their sexual life almost dormant. This happens when testicles get exposed to radiations, thus killing sperms or reducing their production. While erectile dysfunction gets treated with medicines, infertility goes on to become a permanent malady for the patients. 


Bowel related problems: Patients have reported that their bowel system also got affected after radiation therapy. They experience recurrent bowel pressure, pain at the time of defecating, severe diarrhea etc. This problem surfaces when rectal area gets exposed to radiation during the therapy. While many patients get treated of this side effect with suitable medications, some have to bear with it for rest of their lives. 


Penile Shrinkage: Another side effect of prostate cancer radiation therapy is the penile shrinkage. This problem is also known as ‘urethral stricture’ as it is primarily due to shrinking of urethra after getting exposed to radiation. This problem can be rectified by a physician through a simple procedure. External radiation therapy may also damage rectum thus causing presence of mucus or blood in the stool. 


Some more side effects are –  


  • Darkening of skin in anal area 
  • Formation of acidity and gas in abdominal area along with cramping 
  • Loss of pubic hair that usually grow back after some time 
  • Scarring of the area subjected to radiation 
  • Dehydration.

Radiation therapy is a successful treatment that significantly curtails the growth of malignant cells in prostate. However, learning about its side effects will help patients in detecting and treating them effectively.