Sean is sitting on a bed and wearing a brown jackert.

Sean on having his prostate removed and how his sex life was affected

Published: 14 March 2024

Sean, 55, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. He's now cancer free but found the lack of information about how his sex life would be affected made him anxious. After having his prostate removed, Sean was dealing with side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction, as well as the impact on his on his mood. 


Sean spoke to us as part of our We need to talk about sex and cancer campaign.

Meet Sean

In early 2018, I noticed I was needing to urinate a lot more often than usual. I got it checked out. Because of my age, I also went and booked a prostate check with my GP, not thinking it would be anything too serious.

He confirmed my prostate was enlarged and so I got my bloods taken to see what the issue might be. I was told I had a raised PSA levels and so a biopsy followed and this is where the cancer was confirmed. Initially they thought I might have a slow growing cancer, but a second biopsy proved that wasn’t the case.

"It was a really scary time."

The decision was made to remove the prostate, however, I then had an MS (multiple sclerosis) relapse which might have been brought on by the stress of the cancer diagnosis. It was a very scary time. 

This meant my prostate removal was delayed by a couple of months until I was well enough to have it. Luckily, I recovered from both the MS relapse and the removal of my prostate and for this I really do give thanks. 

"With the erectile dysfunction, at first there was no life at all."

At first, I had some incontinence, because I had to get used to going to the toilet more often. I think the incontinence was caused by  weak pelvic floor muscles. That had become a lot weaker after the surgery. I was well briefed and had read up on it because I’m a nurse.  

With the erectile dysfunction, at first there was no life at all. I was given Cialis, which didn’t really work. I had nerves cut on the cancer side, so they tried to preserve some of the nerves on the other side. This was to give me a good chance of having erections later. That was helpful and I’m glad they did that, but it took some time. I tried Viagra and struggled with 50mg. I thought there wasn’t any hope. The doctor said that if 50mg hadn’t worked, try 100mg! Which worked. 

After about eight months, the erectile dysfunction seemed a lot better. My mood had previously been dampened, I was of course happy to be alive but now that I have my sexual function back, there is definitely a boost in mood.