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Physiotherapy should be part of standard care for prostate cancer

Physiotherapy should be part of standard care for prostate cancer, which affects one in seven Australian men, according to APA physiotherapist Jason Crow.

Mr Crow says while men are often reluctant to seek physio input, once they understand how important strong pelvic floor muscles are to full recovery, they’re more than happy to participate.

“Physiotherapists can help men undergoing prostate cancer treatment in several ways,” says Mr Crow.

“Firstly, physiotherapy is important for men diagnosed with prostate cancer who then proceed to radiation therapy or surgical management with a prostatectomy, as specially trained physiotherapists can develop a pelvic floor training program which can reduce the incidence and severity of urinary leakage after treatment for prostate cancer.

“Physiotherapists also provide in-hospital physiotherapy to assist with immediate recovery after surgery to help develop strategies for managing the first few weeks at home and returning to work or sport.

“Finally, physiotherapists work with men across the treatment journey by providing general exercise programs to build up physical fitness after surgery and maintain fitness during any other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.”

Ideally, men should be seen by a physiotherapist prior to surgery to learn their general and pelvic floor exercises before symptoms develop. They are then reviewed by a physiotherapist in-hospital, and for ongoing physiotherapy after surgery.

“Treatment from a physiotherapist aims to decrease incontinence in men post-surgery, with targeted pelvic floor exercises and training.

“Physiotherapy management, when appropriate, also incorporates an exercise program of aerobic exercise and resistance training to combat reduced fitness, reduce the potential loss of muscle and bone mass and improve general well-being.”

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