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Testosterone diagram showing low to high levels.

Cancer Treatment, Testosterone Levels, and Erectile Dysfunction

Men suffering from testosterone deficiencies after undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation could benefit from testosterone replacement therapy. 

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are life savers for men with cancer. However, these forms of therapy have some drawbacks, although none serious enough to refuse such treatments in the face of the threat to life that cancer poses.

Chemotherapy, for example, helps to kill cancerous cells, but in the process, it affects other parts of the body as well. It can reduce your red blood cell count, putting you at great risk of anemia. Chemotherapy can also cause neurological side effects, such as peripheral neuropathy, numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.

Takes Toll on Endocrine System

Chemotherapy and radiation can also play havoc with your endocrine system, a collection of glands that produce the hormones that regulate growth and development, tissue function, metabolism, reproduction, sexual function, mood, and sleep.

Of all the hormonal changes that men are likely to experience while undergoing these cancer treatments, a depletion of their natural testosterone reserves is one of the most common. And a deficiency of the primary male sex hormone can cause fatigue and sexual dysfunction, including reduced libido and erectile dysfunction.

Regulates Sexual Desire 

Although testosterone doesn’t play a direct role in erectile function itself, it helps to regulate sexual desire. And a lack of sexual desire effectively negates or significantly reduces the need for an erection.

Men who are undergoing life-saving cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation might need to replenish their stores of testosterone if symptoms of low libido are distressing, but they should do so only with the counsel of their doctors.

Work with Your Doctor 

Purchasing so-called T-boosting dietary supplements at the health food store may do little but deplete your cash supply. It’s far better to work with your doctor. The doctor can accurately determine to what degree your testosterone levels have been depleted and decide on the best form of treatment to remedy the situation.

The magnitude of cancer treatment’s effect on testosterone levels was underlined in a 2010 study sponsored by the American Cancer Society. To no one’s surprise, the study found that men who develop testosterone deficiency after cancer treatment “have an impaired quality of life and reduced energy levels.” The study was published in the March 15, 2010, issue of Cancer.

Could Significantly Improve Lives

For young male cancer survivors who were left with a testosterone deficiency after cancer treatment, the study’s authors suggest that testosterone replacement therapy might significantly improve their lives. They said further testing would be required to definitively confirm this hypothesis.

Cancer survivors who experience difficulty getting and keeping an erection after cancer treatment could get help from Viagra or other ED medications, although none of those will replenish diminished testosterone levels. Patients must work in concert with a physician to accomplish that goal.

If you’d like to buy Viagra or any of the other ED drugs, you might find that you can save time and money by ordering them from eDrugstore.com, a longtime online prescription drug service. It carries a full line of brand-name and generic ED medications, all of which are FDA-approved. To learn more, visit eDrugstore’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+