Men with prostate cancer who have their prostate removed often suffer sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence which they aren't emotionally prepared to face, say University of Florida (UF) researchers. Writing in Urologic Nursing, the researchers say their findings underscore the need for health-care practitioners to educate men about the physical and psychological effects the surgery will have on their everyday lives.
"The effects of this treatment are quite immediate and can lead to depression and frustration," said UF's Bryan Weber. "After an initial diagnosis of prostate cancer, men may be so focused on eradicating the disease that they don't realize the effects the treatment will have on their quality of life, both for them and their families."
Physical side effects of prostate cancer treatment limit daily activities and may interfere with a man's sense of masculinity and self-confidence. Urinary incontinence, for example, requires the use of pads that add considerable bulkiness to clothing and create concern about leakage and odor. Sexual dysfunction interferes with a man's sense of self and may limit the relationship he has with his significant other, the study noted.
"Within the first 100 days of diagnosis, men may be so distressed and so focused on curing their cancer that they don't focus on these side effects, which is what makes it imperative for health-care professionals to educate them on ways that their lives will change and how they can cope," Weber said. "Almost immediately after treatment, men may experience depression, awkwardness and emasculation, which will have a great effect on their quality of life."
"Education and counseling should be provided to these men to better inform and prepare patients for the physical side effects they are likely to experience postoperatively," Weber said. "Since we know that men are less likely to rely on support groups or be more embarrassed to discuss these items with family and friends, it's even more vital for health-care professionals to stress these issues and include options for patients. Men need to be introduced to different options, make choices and regain control over their lives."
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Source: University of Florida