What it’s like to be a fit, strong male diagnosed with Prostate Cancer? – A patient story

Prostate cancer effects around 1 in 10 Australian males and is more common in older males (>50). There are some cardinal signs and symptoms which shouldn’t be ignored they include;

Symptoms Terry was experiencing (which are common)…

  • Frequently needing to go to the toilet to urinate
  • Feeling unable to completely empty the bladder
  • The feeling of a weak urine flow/stream
  • Inability to pass urine at times
  • Blood in the urine and semen

Other common signs and symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the groin or back
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Dribble after urinating
  • Limiting fluid intake due to not wanting to go to the toilet

What was the advice from Physiotherapists?

Pre-operative physio could include:

  • What you should expect post-surgery
  • How to manage/prevent constipation – Which can make pain and incontinence worse.
  • Pelvic floor exercises – Prehab for incontinence which is very common post-surgery.
  • Advice to rest and recovery initially –then gradually re-building your exercise tolerance and walking capacity in a graded manner post-surgery.

Post-operative physio could include:

  • Advice and grading on healthy return to exercise and other activities.
  • Looking after bone health – Exercises, advice with optimal medical management.
  • Dealing with various mental health concerns – related to incontinence, sexual dysfunction, fatigue and others.
  • Pelvic floor muscle strengthening to help with likely incontinence post-surgery.
  • Maintain healthy body weight – food, fluids and advice about bladder irritants.
  • Advice about reducing strain on pelvic floor when toileting and exercising.
  • Onward referral – support groups (mental health) and exercise groups.

Terry’s message – “Prostate cancer cannot be cured, but can be put into remission. Do not give up and never give in and to seek advice immediately”.

A final message from a Physio’s perspective:

Build a supportive team around you, this is a difficult process to go through and a GP who you can communicate with and other health care practitioners should be used as part of your team when needed such as a Psychologist, Dietician and Physiotherapist of course, who knows about male pelvic health relevant to prostate cancer and surgery.

Please get in contact with Emma Bolton – Our current pelvic health expert at Midland – If you have recently had or about to have prostate surgery or you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Disclaimer: This does not constitute medical advice and if experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult your doctor.

Pelvic floor activation

A common cue used to initiate pelvic floor contraction post-surgery are “Lift and draw up inside” or “attempt to feel like your stopping your urinary flow”. For others, the feeling of lifting the testes up works well but should be checked by a pelvic health expert with Ultrasound initially. This is part of pelvic health rehabilitation at Midland Physio. These exercises are first done in lying, then progressed to be done at any time part of your day including during your normal weights session.

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Midland Physio has been providing leading physiotherapy and allied health care services in Perth since 2002.