Will I get pregnant?

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I am 34 and married to a 65-year-old man. I have only one child yet my husband, because of prostate cancer, will soon undergo surgery. Will I get pregnant again?

Dear Alicia,
Prostate cancer is one of the commonest cancers in men and starts in the prostate gland which produces about 30 per cent of seminal fluid. Much as the cancer usually grows slowly remaining confined in the gland, early detection is important in improving chances of cure.
In Uganda, most people appear late when the cancer has spread requiring radical treatment that may affect a man’s fertility. That said erection problems can result from the prostate cancer itself or its treatment affecting fertility as well.

The kind of treatment of the cancer depends on many factors, such as how fast the cancer is growing, how much it has spread, one’s overall health or side effects of the treatment. Treatments including surgery, radiation or hormone treatments may all lead to male infertility.
Your husband will most likely receive radical prostatectomy where the prostate, the seminal vesicles and the nerves for erection will be removed. This not only leads to erection problems (impotence) but also there will be no semen or sperms, leading to infertility.

More surgery may be done to remove the testes as well, especially in those where the cancer may have spread and surgery or radiation may not help. Also, if the cancer is resistant or has spread. Castration apart from leading to no sperms or semen will also lead to impotence as well. In such circumstances before surgery, sperms can be stored for a test tube baby in future.


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