Incontinence: an unspoken side effect of prostate cancer treatment
Urology For many men, incontinence is the most difficult aspect of their prostate cancer journey.
The urinary leakage that follows surgery or radiation therapy often comes as an unexpected surprise. TrueNTH UK’s continence management programme, funded by the Movember Foundation, has set out to prepare men diagnosed with prostate cancer to effectively manage incontinence.
Ongoing incontinence following surgery
Education is key to help men manage the radical change they will experience in their lifestyle.
Sixty-eight-year-old Robert Leiper likes to be out and about. The retired engineer/project manager enjoys spending his time at beer festivals with his mates or exploring the outdoors with his wife. But unlike his friends, who refer to him as Bob, leaving the house requires some precision planning.
“Whenever I go out I have to think about how long I’ll be away from home and make sure I have enough pads to last. At the beginning, I would also take a spare pair of trousers in case I had a major leak.”
Since having his prostate removed in March 2009, following a prostate cancer diagnosis, Bob has had to grapple with ongoing incontinence.
The West Sussex local is stoic about his personal experience, however, he explains that, as a trained engineer who relies on facts and logic, he doesn’t like surprises and would have benefited from knowing all about the side effects of incontinence prior to surgery.
An inability to control bladder function generally occurs post-surgery or post-radiation therapy due to irritation of the urethra or bladder, or damage to the urinary sphincter (muscles that contract to prevent urine from flowing out of the bladder). The impact can be devastating to many men.
Using education to better prepare men
Prostate cancer can strike at the heart of what it is to be a man – sexual function, fertility, continence, relationships, and mental health can all be affected.
While looking for better treatments – and ultimately cures – for the disease, the quality of life experienced by each man is also critically important. Education is key to help men manage the radical change they will experience in their lifestyle due to incontinence following prostate cancer treatment.
At the Movember Foundation, we offer tools, resources, and education to improve the quality of life for men throughout their cancer journey – addressing their needs before, during and after treatment.
About the Movember Foundation:
The Movember Foundation is the leading charity dedicated to changing the face of men's health around the world. With a singular goal to stop men dying too young, the Foundation supports the following causes: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2003, the support of more than 5 million participants has funded over 1,200 innovative projects across more than 20 countries. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.
Education is the cornerstone of TrueNTH, a global initiative funded by the Movember Foundation which sets out to significantly improve the lives of men (and their partners) who have been diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer.
For the past three years, continence experts in the UK have been building, testing and implementing the TrueNTH continence management program. The program, which is the only program of its kind in the world, aims to help men manage the radical change they will experience in their lifestyle due to incontinence following prostate cancer treatment.
Informed by the personal experiences of men through interviews, the insights from the program have led to the development of a web portal which has been designed to become a one-stop-shop for men to find all the information they need to manage incontinence. The website features interviews with men who have felt the impact of incontinence in their lives, instructional videos of pelvic floor exercises, practical information on choosing incontinence products and how to best manage products.
Visit TruthNTH for more information.