Life after prostate cancer: How rehabilitation and drug therapy helps prostate cancer survivors

Sep. 20, 2012

For many men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, comes the fear of the unknown and what life with and after cancer will mean.

St. Joseph’s Hospital offers many supports for prostate cancer patients and wants to promote the message that, “there is hope” during September’s prostate cancer awareness month.

The most common side effects of prostate cancer surgery are urinary incontinence (the involuntary leakage of urine) and erectile dysfunction, both daunting aspects of the recovery process. And while recovery after prostate cancer surgery varies depending on the patient, according to St. Joseph’s Hospital urologist Dr. Stephen Pautler, “There are many ways St. Joseph’s helps prostate cancer patients, through our erectile dysfunction clinic, where patients work with Dr. Brock to regain sexual function and through various treatment options for incontinence offered by Drs. Brock and Welk,” says Dr. Pautler.

70-75% of men who have had prostate cancer surgery have a return of sexual function to a satisfactory level. Drug therapy is used to aid the process, with patients being prescribed phosphodiesterase inhibitors, more commonly known as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. In some cases a patient’s sexual function returns in the first 6 months but more commonly it takes 1-2 years.

Survivorship is also an important part of the healing process.

“Recovery from prostate cancer surgery takes time and mental recovery is just as important as physical recovery, keeping positive does make a difference,” adds Dr. Pautler. St. Joseph’s also offers non-denominational spiritual care for prostate cancer patients and connects them with various community supports.


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About St. Joseph’s
Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s is one of the best academic health care organizations in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Hospital; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas.

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