Prostate cancer is a very prevalent cancer, more prevalent even than breast cancer. If diagnosed early Prostate cancer can be treated very successfully by removing the prostate gland itself. However, removing the prostate gland surgically can also effect changes in continence and erectile function.
Surgical trauma will affect both the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor. So, although you may be cured of cancer you may find yourself looking at a wet and droopy future. As men are becoming more medically minded and health focused there is a developing trend for earlier testing and earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Hence some people live with the post operative sequelae of surgery (read wet and droopy) for proportionally more of their lives. This can have a significant implication in a man’s quality of life after surgery.
Life After Prostate Cancer
1. Choosing a highly experienced, highly qualified Urological Surgeon is the first point of call, someone who does a high volume of surgeries (and hence gets a lot of practice!) There’s debate raging as to whether minimally invasive ‘Robotic’ surgery or classic open surgery is better…but as long as the surgeon is experienced in their technique then you are in good hands. They should be able to report on their ‘success rates’ if they are actively evaluating their patients outcomes.
2. Connect with your pelvic floor muscles. Most men don’t know they have pelvic floor muscles (a lot of guys think that only women have pelvic floor muscles!). It is worthwhile learning how to turn these muscles on efficiently and effectively as they may need rehabilitating after being surgically traumatised. Current research is underway evaluating whether pelvic floor muscles can be trained more efficiently if you can see them working by using real time ultrasound – the same technology used to see babies in the womb.
3. Evaluate your core joints and muscles Musculoskeletal biomechanical abnormalities can leave you predisposed to having continence and erectile dysfunction perpetuating for longer than necessary. Pelvic and thoracic physical dysfunctions may lead to the ‘core’ muscles performing suboptimally and delay return to continence and potency.
The last 2 points can be managed by dropping in on a mens health physio, someone specifically trained to help with continence and erectile function following treatment for prostate cancer.
If these are issues which concern you, call us at our Sydney CBD Physiotherapy clinics and make an appointment with Stuart or Matt, one of our men’s health physiotherapists. It’s never too late or too early to get yourself assessed.