The constant incapability to maintain or achieve a penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance over considerable time duration of 3 months is defined as Erectile Dysfunction (E.D). Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors like sildenafil (commonly known as Viagra), tadalafil and vardenafil cause smooth muscles of penis to relax and increase blood supply. Thus keep the penis engorged and helps in patients suffering from Erectile Dysfunction. The point of concern here is that JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) has recently found in a study that this drug increases the risk of melanoma.

The study methods in breif:

  • 15000 men participated in this trial.
  • They were excluded for any pre-existing skin cancer like squamous cell cancer(SCC), basal cell carncer(BCC) and melanoma.
  • They were interviewed regarding their Viagra usage in detail.
  • The result showed that sildenafil users were at a 2.24 times greater risk of getting melanoma.
  • There was no incearse risk for developing squamous cell cancer(SCC), basal cell carncer(BCC).

So, how to reduce the chance of getting cancer and curing the condition at the same time?

  • Firstly, this pill should never be used over-the-counter ‘just’ as a performance enhancer in an otherwise normal male. A doctor must be consulted before taking the pill or any other form of treatment.
  • There are many causes of Erectile Dysfucntion and the most common being psychological like excess strees, depression and anxiety which can be taken care of by psychiatric consultations, sex therapy and relationship counseling.
  • D can also be due to other medical conditions like diabetes mellitus which need to be addressed by a physician. Strict glucose restriction and a close monitoring is enough to cure E.D in these patients.
  • Similarly some heart diseases, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can cause E.D which is totally reversible if the underlying condition is cured.
  • Some neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson disease cause E.D. Some symptomatic relief is possible with proper medication but in general these require time and better compliance for complete cure.
  • If ED occurs after treatment of prostate cancer then Viagra should never be used. The recent research states that the PDE-5 inhibitors usage after prostate surgery causesa biochemical reversal of the cancer.
  • It is to be noted that Viagra is not the only factor that can enhance risk of melanoma. Another main risk factor is excess ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sun, which cause double strand break in DNA leading to dimer formation which ultimately causes skin cancer. This is a more common cause of getting skin cancer though Viagra is the ‘newz’ regarding etiology of skin cancers. Hence protection from excess sun exposure should also be a priority by using sunscreen lotions, taking vitamin D supplements and keeping track on local weather and other environmental factors.
  • There are also several non-allopathic treatment options for erectile dysfunction like naturopathy and acupuncture which have been tried and success rate is not that bad which can be combined with counseling and other stress reduction or lifestyle modifying measures can give drastically improved results.

Conclusion

This problem can cause many health disorders for men, but effective measures can treat it as well. These can include lifestyle changes or medication, which should be looked into carefully.