Good patient awareness improves urological care
Urology Urology is a very varied branch of medicine covering urinary and male reproductive disorders from overactive bladder to cancer. We can help ourselves by getting informed.
Urology Week runs from September 26th to the 30th, with events across Europe to raise awareness. “We share experiences, look at new developments and help people understand there is help for their symptoms,” says Professor Christopher Chapple,consultant urological surgeon and secretary general of the European Association of Urology.
“We want the best quality care for patients, and people can help by being well informed,” he says, adding that you must do online research at validated NHS or hospital sites. “Beware of internet scaremongering and don’t rely on advice over the garden fence."
"Early diagnosis is very important as it will lead to better treatment and care.”
He urges immediate action if you have blood in your urine. “See your GP, even if it goes away after a few days. I see lots of people who think, oh it’s gone away, but in six months’ time it’s come back and by then the tumour causing the problem may have grown.” He stressed however that most people when investigated do not have a tumour but it is essential to exclude one.
Being overweight is a cause of urinary incontinence. “There’s physiotherapy for patients with stress incontinence, which women are more vulnerable to because they have a shorter urethral tube than men, and childbirth can weaken that muscle or the pelvic floor. Patients can also see advisors for early stage management while waiting for treatment.”
"People can help themselves with lifestyle changes like losing weight."
On the medical side, the new beta3 agonist drug therapy for overactive bladder is NICE approved, and shown to have fewer side effects than traditional anticholinergics. The UK has seen increasing use of robots in surgery over the past 2-3 years, though Chapple stresses that robots are a very useful tool but must be used appropriately by an experienced surgeon.
“There’s a lot of work underway in innovative healing methods, and quality of life. Ultimately, we’d all prefer not to have surgery, so the emphasis is on early stage intervention.”