Many prostate cancer treatments, including radiation therapy and radical prostatectomy, can cause nerve damage in the areas surrounding the prostate including the bladder and the penile tissue. Erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence are common issues for men following treatment for prostate cancer. Most men experience changes in erections and bladder function following prostate cancer treatment. For many men, these changes are temporary, improving over time.
The Erectile and Continence Recovery Program focuses on providing comprehensive care and a telehealth platform to ensure that men facing prostate cancer not only have the best oncological outcomes, but also the best lifestyle outcomes.
We’re Here For You
It’s important to know that you are not alone in your recovery journey. The recovery coaches at Chesapeake Urology’s Erectile and Continence Recovery Program are dedicated to helping men reach their long-term health goals through education, clinical services, and ongoing support. The goal of Chesapeake Urology’s Erectile and Continence Recovery Program is the help men regain erectile and bladder function as quickly as possible after prostate cancer treatment by connecting patients to leading specialists in erectile and bladder health management.
About The Erectile and Continence Recovery Program
Our specialized program is broken up into two parts – pre-treatment and post-treatment.
Before undergoing prostate cancer treatment, you will meet with one of our recovery coaches who are urologists specializing in erectile dysfunction treatment and male continence. Understanding how to prepare your body for your prostate cancer treatment will ultimately hasten your recovery.
Your “recovery coach” will discuss:
- The importance of physical therapy - Pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) is a critical component of the recovery program, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that help control overall erectile and bladder function. Your physical therapist will teach you specific exercises that will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles before and after treatment.
- Baseline assessment of function - Your doctor will provide questionnaires that will determine your baseline erectile and bladder function. You may be started on a physical therapy program or provided medications prior to your prostate cancer treatment.
During your pre-treatment appointment, we encourage you to bring your significant other or a loved one/close friend for an extra level of support and encouragement. During this appointment, your recovery coach will discuss recovery timeframes so that you know what to expect every step of your journey.
It has been shown that men who see a pelvic floor physical therapist and perform pelvic floor exercises before radiation therapy or a radical prostatectomy have a higher chance of recovering significant bladder control and erectile function following treatment.
At three- and six-months post-treatment, you will meet with your recovery coach and/or one of our experienced physician assistants to discuss your progress and to ensure your health goals are moving forward as planned.
- Your provider will assess your erectile and bladder function and compare it to your baseline function.
- To aid in restoring your erectile function, you may start vacuum erection stretches that promote healthy blood flow to the penis.
- You may discuss more advanced options for erectile recovery such as oral ED medications (e.g. Viagra, Cialis, etc.), penile injections, the use of a vacuum erection device, and/or penile doppler ultrasound. All of these therapies promote healthy blood flow to the penile tissue to help restore normal erectile function.
- You will continue to perform pelvic floor exercises to promote better bladder control.
- Your provider will assess your erectile and bladder function and compare it to your baseline function and your three-month visit.
- Your provider will assess how close or far you are from your erectile and continence goals, and discuss potential surgical options if goals are not being met (e.g. penile implants or surgical incontinence therapies).
- You can expect incremental improvements in erectile and bladder function over the next several months. Recovery typically plateaus at 12 months post-treatment.
Men increase their chances of functional improvement following prostate cancer treatment by enrolling in Chesapeake Urology’s Erectile and Continence Recovery Program.
Benefits of The Erectile and Continence Recovery Program
By preparing your body for success before your prostate cancer treatment, your long-term recovery outlook remains bright. Benefits of the program include:
- Improvement in bladder control and a shortened “time to dry.” If urinary leakage remains a problem after the one-year mark, your recovery coach can discuss surgical options for the treatment of your incontinence.
- Improved erectile recovery. Optimizing your erectile health prior to prostate cancer treatment and the restoration of proper penile blood flow post-treatment through the use of multiple treatment modalities can improve your recovery time substantially. Addressing a man's erectile function before, during, and following treatment for prostate cancer can get a man's natural erection back quicker and better.
If erectile dysfunction is an issue after going through the recovery program, your provider can discuss surgical treatment options such as penile implants to help restore your virility and quality of life.
How to Enroll in the Erectile and Continence Recovery Program
For your convenience, our recovery coaches offer telehealth and in-office appointments. To begin your journey with one of our recovery coaches, call 855-405-7100, or ask the urologist treating your prostate cancer to help you enroll in the program.
Meet The Recovery Coaches
Robert Goldfarb, M.D.
Melissa Mendez, M.D.
Devang Sharma, M.D.
Robert Segal, M.D.
Marc Siegelbaum, M.D.
Aaron Weinberg, M.D.