Orchietomy is a radical prostate cancer treatment in which the testicles are completely removed. This is done because most cases of prostate cancer develop and progress because of the presence of male sex hormones, or more specifically testosterone and this hormone is produced by the testes.
This type of prostate cancer treatment is a form of hormone therapy which works by manipulating the hormone levels in the body so that the cancerous cells stop growing and dividing. While this therapy is known to have a positive effect on the cancer you must realise that the operation is non-reversible and the chances of your sex life being affected are virtually 100%.
Men who have undergone this form of prostate cancer treatment often report that their libido decreases and so does their desire to have sex. Unfortunately even when they do have the desire for sexual intercourse they may find themselves to be impotent and this can lead to psychological problems in the long term. These side affects of orchietomy are very common and you should take them in to account and discuss them with your partner before you decide to undergo this form of prostate cancer treatment.
Other side effects of this radical prostate cancer treatment are associated with the unbalancing of the male and female hormone levels within the body. By removing the testicles the concentration of testosterone in your body will be reduced by around 90% however the concentration of oestrogen, the female hormone will remain the same. This means that on occasion breast tenderness, growth of the breast tissue and osteoporosis can develop. Other side effects include anaemia, weight gain, and depression and fatigue however your oncologist will be able to explain each of the side effects in much more detail.
Before deciding for or against this form of prostate cancer treatment you need to decide what exactly you want to get out of the treatment. If you want to eliminate the cancer from your body then an orchietomy is a possibility however there are other ways to remove the cancer totally and these alternative treatments have fewer and less severe side effects. If however you are 60+ and do not want to have surgery then this procedure is not for you and radiation therapy can be used to simply control the growth of the cancer. Similarly if you are still relatively young and do not want to be plagued with impotence and lack of sex drive then, again, an orchietomy is probably not the prostate cancer treatment for you.
Because impotence is a major side effect of this radical prostate cancer treatment you should think long and hard before agreeing to anything. Talk to your partner and your oncologist and look into the alternative forms of treatment. There may be a better one for you that only has temporary side effects so that after a few weeks or months you can once again enjoy a full sex life.