The possibility of having incontinence as a side effect from all of the primary prostate cancer treatments is significant. Incontinence is not an either or thing as the degree of incontinence varies from individual to individual.

Those men having significant levels of inconvenience find that their quality of life is significantly damaged in some cases to the point that we are unable to live our life. We cannot go to the theater, take an airplane, meet friends or family outside our own home, etc.  Life becomes difficult and unhappy.

The most common procedure to combat this level of incontinence is with the surgical implantation of an artificial urinary sphincter (AUS). An AUS is not perfect, but most men report an improvement in varying degrees. Some experience a complete resolution of the problem while others feel that the process was not meet their expectations.

When reviewing the literature on AUS survival in individuals with a history of primary radiation therapy we find that the results are conflicting. So, researchers at the Mayo Clinic decided to assess AUS survival outcomes among individuals treated at Mayo after prior radiation therapy exposure.

They evaluated men receiving the device who had prior radiation treatment for prostate cancer from 1999 to 2011. They found that:

At a median follow-up of 4.3 years, there were no significant differences in infection, erosion, urethral atrophy, or device survival among the men who had or had not undergone prior radiation therapy.

They concluded that these data suggest that prior pelvic radiation is not an additional risk factor for adverse outcomes after AUS implantation.