Tag Archive for: urinary function

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle?

What Impact Does Advanced Prostate Cancer Have on Lifestyle? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What should advanced prostate cancer patients expect for treatment impact? Expert Dr. Yaw Nyame with the University of Washington explains common treatment side effects, advice for easing physical side effects, and ways for patients and care partners to find support.

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Lisa Hatfield:

There is often a tendency to associate advanced prostate cancer with a risk to relationship intimacy. And can you speak to sexual dysfunction and other lifestyle concerns when it comes to prostate cancer and that diagnosis?

Dr. Yaw Nyame:

So, prostate cancer, it’s important to remember that the prostate itself is a sex organ for men, right? Its primary purpose is to produce seminal fluid, the fluid that comes out with ejaculation. And it’s closely linked to a whole lot of structures in your pelvis that support, you know, erectile function and sexual function. All of our treatments have the very real potential to impact sexuality and sexual function. And, I think part of what’s important to do is you go into these and to your conversation with your doctors is to understand how your sexual function, your urinary function, and sometimes your bowel function are going to be impacted by these treatments.

And to get some real clarity about what life will look like for you post-treatment and the setting of advanced cancer, there’s also the added potential of impact to sexual function from the hormone suppression. When we take away your testosterone, oftentimes we take away things like libido or your sexual desire, and we can impact erectile function as well.

You know, things that can help overcome some of the side effects of that hormone suppression are definitely diet and exercise, being active, keeping your muscle mass up, having good dietary habits seem to help. We have a lot of mixed reviews and the literature about the benefit, but I, yeah, I’m a strong believer that the healthier you can be as you undergo these treatments, the better you’re going to do overall. My activation tip when it comes to these new diagnoses is to really invest in advocacy organizations that exist in your community so that you can be connected to other men who are undergoing treatment to have candid conversations about life as a prostate cancer survivor. Organizations like ZERO – the End of Prostate Cancer. There are local groups the NASPCC, there are just chapters and groups of men all across the country that gather to talk about their journey.

And I think that that can be a really wonderful network to better understand what treatment realities may look like for you, but also to support the emotional and physical toll that treatment may take on you. And I think that, that being part of those networks actually will also arm you and empower you to have really good conversations with your doctors to understand what resources are available to support you in your survivorship.

What a lot of men and individuals of prostate cancer aren’t told is that there are some solutions for some of these problems may not be like it was before, but there are many treatments that can exist and do exist that can help preserve certain portions of this quality of life, these quality of life components. And if you don’t know about them, you can’t ask about them. And if you’re not willing to confront them, you may not ask about them and suffer unnecessarily.

My activation tip for care partners related to this question would be, have the tough conversation. Talk about having the tough conversation, schedule a time to try and do it. Don’t do the tough conversation when the football game is on, on Sunday evening. Don’t have it on Wednesday night when the baseball playoffs are going on, but have that conversation so that the care partner can help advocate for the patient about those things that the patient may feel uncomfortable talking about. But if we don’t talk about it, we can’t work on it. And if we don’t work on it, we can’t fix it. So it is important to have the tough conversation.

Lisa Hatfield:

Right, thank you both Dr. Nyame and Sherea, who is a care partner. Thank you for that. Those activation tips.

[ACT]IVATED Prostate Cancer Post-Program Survey

How Is Early Stage Prostate Cancer Treated?

How Is Early Stage Prostate Cancer Treated? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

For early stage prostate cancer, what are the current treatment approaches? Expert Dr. Tanya Dorff explains common treatments and reviews factors that impact a patient’s options.

Dr. Tanya Dorff is Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope. Learn more about Dr. Dorff.


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When it is time to start treatment, what types of approaches are available for early stage prostate cancer patients? 

Dr. Dorff:

Localized prostate cancer or early stage prostate cancer can be cured with either surgery or radiation, and we actually view these to be equally effective options. Sometimes people have the misconception that if they’re getting radiation to treat their localized prostate cancer, they’re being relegated to a noncurative or a less effective option. It’s actually not the case. We don’t have truly good, randomized, head-to-head studies. 

You can find retrospective studies, people looking back at 2,000 patients treated at this institution or that institution, and you can find a study that pretty much says whatever you want it to. You can find some that say surgery’s better, some that say radiation’s better, but in sum, we sort of view them as being equally effective options. And so, they just have different side effect profiles, and so, we often counsel patients who are considering which local treatment to receive to look at what their current urinary function is, what their goals are for their long-term function, both urinary and sexual, and use that as a guide, as well as their age, their other health conditions, and those kinds of factors. 

Top Tips and Advice for Prostate Cancer Patients and Caregivers Navigating Treatment

Top Tips and Advice for Prostate Cancer Patients and Caregivers Navigating Treatment from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo

What should prostate cancer patients and caregivers know about prostate cancer treatment? Dr. Leanne Burnham shares advice for patients with concerns about treatment side effects, information about active surveillance, and some specific advice for Black men with prostate cancer.

See More From the Prostate Cancer TelemEDucation Empowerment Resource Center

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Dr. Leanne Burnham

Yes, so it is a couples’ disease for sure, and you want to make sure to do a little bit of your own research. Make sure that your doctor knows how this disease affects Black men differently, because what I see a lot of time, even in my own family, my husband’s family members that get prostate cancer and they come to me, a lot of times, their doctor will recommend active surveillance. And it may not be appropriate for African American men if you look at the research and you look at the studies. And so, it may benefit you to just ask your doctor, “Do you treat a lot of Black patients, or do you see any difference in their survival rates versus your other patients?” And really consider that when you’re thinking about whether to do active surveillance or not. Once it gets time for treatments, one thing when I — because I talk to a lot of men and support groups, and men are scared, they don’t want to lose their urinary function, they don’t want to lose their sexual function. And so, they’re nervous about certain diseases and in terms of surgeries and radical prostatectomy, there are nerve-sparing surgeries now to really protect that function afterwards, and there are exercises that can be done afterwards to also help improve, and so ask the nurses in your setting, “What are some of those exercises that can be done?” But one thing to keep in mind is every treatment comes with its sort of risk, right?

So, no matter whether you choose radiation or surgery, there’s always a risk that you may lose some of that function, what I tell men, and not to sound not sensitive to the matter, but a lot of men, they’ll say, you know, “Oh, if I get this treatment and what if I can’t have sex anymore?” You’re not going to have sex when you’re buried 6 feet underground either. And so, you want to be able to get those treatments, the ones that you and your physician have a shared decision in and in deciding what’s best as a couple. But you don’t want to be naive if you’re at the doctor and you have a really elevated PSA and you have a Gleason score of 8, and your doctor is telling you, “We really need to treat this,” you don’t want to shy away from that, because you’re scared of the side of the side effects in that setting. You can look for where the best surgery center is if they have the nerve-sparing surgery, as I said, and explore your options that way. But don’t put it off so long, because you’re worried about the side effects. And if you don’t get treatment and your doctor wants you to, as time goes on, you’ll lose the urinary function and the sexual function anyways.

So yeah, it’s not something that you want to put off because you’re scared about the side effects. And a lot of men do have side effects temporarily, and then they regain their function, and I really encourage to join support groups virtually now because of how the role is set up. But just talk to some other men that have had some of these procedures and see how they’re doing. And I personally haven’t met a man that felt like, “Oh, I have been cured from prostate cancer, and now I have the side effects, and I wish I wouldn’t have had the procedure,” I haven’t met one. And I know in those who have side effects and they had surgeries and 10, 15 years ago, and they have side effects, I’m not going to act like that doesn’t happen. But none of them have ever expressed to me that they wish they could go back in time and not do that, because, at the end of the day, they’re grateful that they are still here with their loved ones.