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New service to help men’s recovery from cancer

CLARE Cancer Support Centre has launched a men’s health initiative to provide specialist physiotherapy treatment for cancer patients.
It is believed the Clare Cancer Support Centre is one of the first charitable organisations to provide this specialist service to local male cancer patients.
According to a recent medical study, men who complete five full weeks of specific exercises before pelvic surgery have less incontinence and better sexual function after surgery.
In line with international men’s health week, Sláinte an Chláir and local physiotherapy practice, YOUtherapies are linking up to provide Clare men with support around rehabilitation from prostate cancer. During the week, Clare men are asked to make the connections, check in, check up and check it out to safeguard their health.
Chartered physiotherapist, Aideen Farrell, told the Clare Champion the centre believes there is a gap in the rehabilitation that Clare men receive after prostate, pelvic and colorectal cancer surgery.
Ms Farrell explained after surgery men are usually offered a home exercise programme, but there is very little specialist care available for men in this area.
She said her colleague Cyrielle Baiwir, a pelvic health physiotherapist, will see Clare men six weeks before and after their surgery. These sessions last between 60 to 90 minutes on average.
“I think this will be amazing for men. There is a lot they are missing out on and maybe some men are afraid to ask about what treatment is available before surgery.
“This treatment will improve men’s recovery and their long-term function. It will make a huge difference to the rehabilitation.
“It will be of great benefit for men who don’t have private health insurance and can’t afford private treatment.
Ms Farrell is setting up this service in Sláinte an Chláir with Ms Baiwir’s clinical expertise.
According to a recent medical study, men who complete five full weeks of specific exercises before pelvic surgery have less incontinence and better sexual function after surgery.
Oncology nurse specialist, Anne Murphy said the main focus of the centre is to support people with cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Stressing the centre doesn’t provide hospital services, Ms Murphy said this latest initiative will help men to make a better recovery from prostate or bowel cancer.
She explained some men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer can suffer from side effects, which may be helped with specialist physiotherapy.
While men will get guidance from their consultant in Galway or Limerick, she pointed out the centre wants to provide this specialist physiotherapy locally so that is more accessible for men in this health category.
She explained some men may suffer from urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction and bowel control and the centre has seen local cases with long term issues following prostate and bowel cancer.
Previously, the centre was limited in terms of what it could offer these patients from a supportive perspective.
“The ultimate aim of this treatment is to provide men with a better quality of life and have reduced side effects.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Irish men and the second most common overall, above breast cancer.
According to the National Cancer Registry, 3,474 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the country. This means that one in eight men will be affected by the disease during their lifetime. Positively, prostate cancer has one of the best survival rates of all cancers and with early detection, the right support and rehabilitation; full physical, psychological, social and sexual recovery is possible.
After prostate removal surgery the bladder shape changes, the urethra is shorter and muscles are weaker. These can lead to symptoms such as incontinence, frequency, urgency or erectile dysfunction.
These urinary and sexual symptoms can be reduced by specialist physiotherapy including bladder training, pelvic floor rehabilitation, individualised advice and support alongside pharmacological and medical intervention.
For further information contact Mary or Anne at admin@clarecancersupport.com or telephone 087 6912396

by Dan Danaher

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