Retrograde Ejaculation after Radiation for Rectal Cancer

Last Modified: May 8, 2012


My doctor said that a side effect of radiation for rectal cancer is retrograde ejaculation. What does this mean? Will it hurt me? Will it go away?


Bruce Giantonio, MD, Medical Oncologist at Penn Medicine responds:

That is a good question. Retrograde ejaculation means that when you have an orgasm, instead of the sperm and other fluids being ejected outside of your body (thru the penis), it will go "backwards" or "retrograde" into the urinary bladder. This doesn't harm the bladder. But if you are not done having children, it can make it very hard to father a child. If that is a concern of yours, you should think about 'sperm-banking' before you start your therapy; your treatment team can advise you on that. I hope that helps.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from the Focus on GI Cancers webchat.


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