Because prostate cancer is a highly treatable form of cancer and several treatments are comparably effective, many men base their choice of treatment on side effects, and what is most important to them. For some men, it is most important to completely rid the body of cancer, which means the removal of the entire prostate. However, when the entire prostate gland is removed, nerve damage causes many men to become impotent (unable to achieve or maintain an erection) and/or possibly incontinent (lose bladder control).
For other men, it is very important to preserve sexual function and bladder control. For these men, brachytherapy offers a comparably effective treatment method, with a lower risk of impotence and incontinence. Depending on the level of cancer, brachytherapy is sometimes combined with external beam radiation therapy, which may increase the risk of some of the side effects mentioned above, as well as fatigue, skin reactions in the treated areas, frequent and painful urination, upset stomach, diarrhea, and rectal irritation and bleeding.
Please talk with your doctor about the side effects, what they mean to you, and which treatment is most appropriate for you.