For many men, the incontinence issue has been overcome 12 months after treatment. For others, “leaky plumbing” can be an ongoing battle – often not spoken about except within the confines of a support group setting.
Over the years of giving presentations about the NAVIGATE trial and prostate cancer, I still meet men who are having bladder or bowel problems years after their treatment. For one reason or another, many of these blokes are not aware that there are treatments, services and products available that can help them.
Where do I start?
The Continence Foundation Australia is the best place to start. Their website is full of information and resources. They also have a confidential helpline – 1800 33 00 66.
After you’ve checked out the Continence Foundation, some men will find the next step is to talk with a urologist regarding treatment.
A good option is to look for a “one-stop shop”, such as the Australian Prostate Centre (APC) in North Melbourne. This place treats all matters to do with men’s
health, prostate cancer and continence. You only need a doctor’s referral to see them.
Possible surgical solutions to ongoing leaks
In our support group, a couple of men have had the sling done, and they are very happy with the outcome.
Please note that the following links should not be seen as an endorsement for any specific clinic or urologist. The information on these sites simply provides a starting point to obtain information about what to do next.
General information about the male urinary sling can be found here.
The next treatment possibility is the artificial urinary sphincter (AUS). Our colleague, Victoria Cullen, recently posted a story on her website from a physiotherapist who had his ongoing incontinence resolved with an AUS. For further general information about the AUS, click here.
There are also urologists who focus on treating issues that arise after prostate cancer treatment. In Melbourne, one of those clinicians is Dr Justin Chee, who specialises in urinary continence problems.
Throughout Australia, there are many urologists who perform these procedures. Talking to other men who have had their continence resolved by any of these procedures, will give you an idea of what you might expect.
Always do your research, ask around, and get a second (or third) opinion. There are solutions available in most cases, so don’t suffer needlessly.
So, there is no need to put up with leaky plumbing after the initial treatment and
recovery period. If those pelvic floor exercises are not cutting the mustard, then it’s time to move to Plan B.
Don’t let COVID stop you
With the whole COVID-19 impact, remind your friends that this is no time to drop the ball. They need to get checked – doctors have warned that tests for PSA and follow-ups are dropping. Remember, prostate cancer doesn’t go into hibernation just because of the pandemic.
Take care, stay safe, healthy and strong. You only have one body in this lifetime, so make sure you look after it.