Prostate Cancer: How Physio Can Help

The incredible benefits that physiotherapists can offer men before, during and after prostate cancer treatment. 

Most people’s thoughts will instinctively go straight to incontinence and pelvic floor retraining with this title, but Megan Oster, Lead Cancer Care Physiotherapist who works closely with our specialist Men’s Health Team, wants to share the other incredible benefits that physiotherapists can offer men at this time.

Get Moving:
We all want to continue to enjoy the things we love in life. Being physically active is the best ‘drug’ to enable this to occur during and after your treatment.

This is why:

  • Improves your mood – giving focus to help regain your confidence
  • Minimises the side-effects associated with treatment:
    • Pelvic floor: Sedentary behaviour weakens pelvic floor muscles and can delay recovery of urinary control and erectile dysfunction post surgery
    • Hormone Treatment: Some men will undergo Androgen Therapy, a treatment that slows down growth by blocking the chemicals that fuels prostate cancer. Unfortunately, there are many side-effects associated with this treatment, including fatigue, weight gain, strength and muscle loss, low libido, erectile dysfunction, bone thinning and changes of mood. Getting moving, can help minimise these significantly.

**Being physically active can reduce the risk of recurrence in prostate cancer by 70%

Physical activity doesn’t just have to be pounding the pavement or sporting the newest kit in the gym. Other ideas include gardening, Pilates, playing with children or grandchildren, active game consoles or even housework… Be inventive, have fun and get your family and friends involved.

Be realistic. Start slow and build up to hit the current recommendations: 150 minutes of movement a week.
This exercise should enable you to get huffing and puffing, but still maintain a conversation should someone be next to you.

The thought of getting moving can be a scary one during or after treatment, but help is here. Link in with your nearest oncology or men’s health physiotherapist who can help you on your way.

Pelvic Floor Retraining:
It is now well known the positive impact physiotherapists can have in helping men regain control of their urinary leakage post prostate surgery and/or radiotherapy. It is recommended that each person should link in for specialist input, however, here are my top tips to get you started:

  • Start training from point of diagnosis
  • Immediately post surgery, don’t be on your feet for too long as it can cause fatigue of your pelvic floor muscles
  • Avoid just in case trips to the bathroom
  • Practice in a range of positions
  • Build your activity gradually. Start with 2 x 15 minutes of walking initially and build up to 1 hour of brisk walking. This will challenge the muscles to cope with a variety of vibrations, gradients and change of direction.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: speak to your medical team to get a personalised approach

Post surgery, we expect dryness in 3-6 months. Give yourself the best chance of reaching this time frame with early and individualised input.

Most of us will know that prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men. But what most people don’t know is that it outnumbers breast cancer in all the ‘important’ stats.

No man should live with untreated side effects from prostate cancer treatment. The time is now. It’s time to start talking and start linking in with trained health professionals who can help build solutions to improve the quality of life that has been saved.

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