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Cancer: Sex, the prostate and erectile dysfunction

6 November 2013

Sex, the prostate and erectile dysfunction

Sexual function may not be an easy thing to talk about for either the patient or clinician, but it is something that is affected by numerous health conditions. In particular, treatment for prostate cancer can make many men vulnerable to some or total erectile dysfunction which can threaten masculinity, psychological well-being and happy relationships. This article will explore the challenges of erectile dysfunction and suggest management techniques for practice.

This module of learning aims to:

  1. Describe the anatomy and physiology of the prostate gland and erectile function
  2. Identify the physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction, including the effect of prostate cancer treatment
  3. Recognise the range of treatments (medical and non-medical) for treating erectile dysfunction.
  4. Discover ways to talk about sex and relationships in practice in an unembarrassed and informative way


Lorraine Grover, Psychosexual Nurse Specialist.
Lorraine qualified as a nurse in 1984 from St Bartholomew's Hospital, London and for several years was a nursing sister in Accident and Emergency with an interest in trauma.  She qualified as a sex therapist in 2003. Lorraine recognised how giving patients the opportunity to discuss their sexual difficulties can significantly improve their wellbeing. Causes can be both psychological and organic and she is able to consider both aspects of management. For many years she ran nurse led erectile dysfunction clinics and now provides a private consultation service in London and Buckinghamshire.

Gemma Borwick, Education Manager, Prostate Cancer UK
Gemma manages the health professionals' education programme at Prostate Cancer UK. This programme provides educational opportunities for all health professionals working with men and their families who have prostate cancer and prostate disease.

All parts of this CPD module must be read and the reflection questions answered (found on the last page) to achieve the credit for CPD Prep hours.

Part 1: The Physiology of Erectile Function
Part 2: Sex and Prostate Cancer
Part 3: Management in Practice
Part 4: Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
Part 5: Pharmacotherapies
Part 6: Top 10 Tips for Effective Practice
Part 7: Useful Resources

You can also download all parts of this article as a PDF document for viewing and printing.