On Friday, we were delighted to join a podcast by the dynamic duo – Professor Declan Murphy and Dr Renu Eapen. Declan and Renu produce the GU Cast, with regular episodes on all things prostate, kidney, bladder, testis and penile cancer. They invite guests on (like us) to discuss different aspects on these topics. Our topic was – The post-prostatectomy journey – things I wish we knew back then.
Urology nurse, Emma Birch, was the other guest on the podcast, sharing her considerable experience on this topic. All five of us chatted about things we had expected before prostate surgery and the things that we didn’t know beforehand.
My view about the prostatectomy journey is that it has different phases:
Phase 1 is the operation itself – getting the cancer out of the body to prevent death. Obviously the most critical issue when faced with prostate cancer!
Once surgery is done and dusted, in my view Phase 2 kicks in – recovery.
My theory extends to Phase 2 being a two-stage journey:
Stage A would be dealing with incontinence and Stage B would be tackling erectile dysfunction.
As discussed during the podcast, men (and their partners) typically go in for prostatectomy with a view along these lines –
“I want this surgery to get rid of the cancer – I don’t want it to kill me. After surgery, I want to be continent as quickly as possible – I don’t want to wear nappies or leak urine all over the place. It would be nice if I could get my erections back, but they’re not critically important right now.”
Survival rates following prostate cancer treatment tend to be very high. Over the years treatments have improved dramatically and surgery itself is much safer and more effective than it was in the past. This means that more men are making it through Phase 1 and living through Phase 2. Priorities shift as time passes and urinary issues also tend to improve with appropriate care (see Alan’s earlier post on this).
This means that men and their partners tend to reach a point some time after their treatment where they miss the intimacy that sex used to provide.
As you will hear during the podcast, there are things that we know now that we wish we had known before treatment – and things that we want others to know as they head into their own prostate cancer journey.
You can listen to Declan and Renu’s podcast – GU Cast – if you follow the link below. If you have any difficulties, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.