Still incontinent after 12 months?

Are you still leaking after prostate cancer treatment?

For many men, the incontinence issue has been resolved 12 months or so 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 to get help

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

In our Prostate Cancer Support Group, a couple of members have had a synthetic sling inserted, 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 with other men who have had their bladder issues resolved by any of these procedures will help you know 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.

There is no need to put up with leaky plumbing after your prostate cancer treatment and recovery period.  If those pelvic floor exercises are not making any difference, then it’s time to move to Plan B.

You may also find it helpful to check out my earlier article about incontinence.   There are also relevant links on our Resources page.

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.

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