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Prostate Cancer
Treatment Guide™

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Prostate Cancer and Erection

An erection is produced during sexual arousal due to the filling of the corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum of the penis with blood. The arteries of the penis relax while the veins constrict, allowing the penis to hold onto a large amount of blood. Prostate cancer treatment may result in impotence due to the arteriosclerosis or diversion of the blood flow to the penis or damage to the nerves. Chemically, the body produces erection by releasing nitric oxide from nerve cells called NANC. The nitric oxide turns on the production of an enzyme, guanylate cyclase, which converts guanosine triphosphate (GTP) into cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Cyclic guanosine monophosphate causes the smooth muscles of the arterial walls in the penis to relax and allow blood to flow in; however, a enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE 5), breaks down cGMP and the arterial walls stop relaxing. Prostate cancer treatment can cause impotence due to therapies that interfere with the physiological and chemical process involved in producing and maintaining erection.










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