March 16, 2009 -- Question: What are the urinary impacts of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, and how do they compare to the urinary impacts of prostate surgery?
Answer: As men decide with their significant others as to what definitive therapy or treatment they're going to receive for prostate cancer, they frequently ask questions as to 'how is it going to affect my urinary quality of life?'
When men undergo surgery, they have to relearn how to gain control of their urinary stream. They do this generally by doing Kegel exercises similar to women after childbirth. When patients receive radiation therapy, the prostate is not removed. That musculature that controls urinary sphincter function, control of the urinary flow, is intact.
In contrast to the surgery patients, radiation therapy patients will experience frequent urination. And sometimes may need some simple medications to reduce the frequency of urination.
The frequency of urination might be double that so if they're urinating every four hours say, it might be every two hours during a course of radiation therapy.
These symptoms will subside after a month or two after completion of radiation therapy.