Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the prostate — a walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Elements that can increase the risk of prostate cancer include:
- Your Age: The older you are the higher the risk.
- Ethnicity: For reasons not yet determined, men with African origins carry a greater risk of prostate cancer than men of other races. For African descent men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or more advanced.
- Family Tree: If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be higher. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer or a very strong family history of breast cancer, chances of having prostate cancer increase.
- Obesity: Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that’s more difficult to treat.
Infertility and prostate cancer treatment
Cancer treatment usually harms fertility, therefore your chances of conceiving naturally after cancer treatment will decrease.
Surgery to remove your prostate gland means that you no longer ejaculate any semen (dry orgasm). So you will not be able to have children by natural sexual intercourse. This is because your sperm cannot pass to your partner during sexual intercourse.
If you want to have children, sperm can be saved through sperm banking before undergoing any medical treatment that could harm your fertility.
For men who have had a prostatectomy, it might be possible to take sperm directly from your testicles. The sperm can be used to fertilize your partner directly or with the test tube baby technique (in vitro fertilization – IVF).
Freezing (cryopreservation) of sperm is the most successful way for men to preserve fertility before cancer treatment. Men who cannot ejaculate may have vibrational or electrical stimulation to help them do so. The sperm will stay frozen, or “banked,” until you need them. Freezing your sperm even for many years will not damage your sperm quality.
Testicular Sperm Extraction
Even if a man cannot ejaculate sperm, he may still have sperm in the testicles. In testicular sperm extraction, a surgeon removes small pieces of testicular tissue (biopsy) while the patient is sedated or under local or general anesthesia. If the tissue contains sperm, the sperm are either frozen or used to fertilize a female partner’s eggs. This technique may be an option before or after cancer treatment.
Radiotherapy or hormone therapy
Men who have had radiotherapy or hormone therapy might produce less semen or no semen. Radiotherapy and hormone therapy can also damage sperm and reduce sperm count. So it might be more difficult for you to have children naturally.
It is still possible for men to be fertile during their treatment with radiotherapy, hormone therapy or chemotherapy. Radiation or hormone or chemotherapy drugs could damage a developing baby. So men are advised to use contraception to avoid pregnancy while having these treatments.
By Dr. Zakwan Khrait
Specialist Reproductive Medicine And Infertility
Fertility Preservation is available at Eve Fertility Center for more information call 06 572 5551 or visit https://eve-ivf.com/en/book-an-appointment/.