What is the Connection Between Prostate Cancer and Incontinence?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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The primary connection between prostate cancer and incontinence is that treatments used to cure the disease can sometimes lead to urinary incontinence. There are various reasons this can occur, ranging from surgery damaging the urethra or bladder muscles or nerves to removal of the prostate and changing the shape or capacity of the bladder. Sometimes treatment can also cause random and sporadic muscle spasms which can result in urine leakage.

Patients who are undergoing or are set to undergo treatment for prostate cancer should be prepared to deal with incontinence, or the inability of the bladder to hold and control the flow of urine. This can range in severity from mild to severe. Some men may only have occasional leakage during a laugh, cough, or sneeze while others will suffer from complete loss of bladder control.

It is emotionally and physically draining for many patients to deal with prostate cancer and incontinence at once, but there are ways to reduce the chances of having an accident at an inopportune moment. Surgeons and oncologists performing treatments generally try and reduce the chances of damage to the bladder or urethra, and follow-up treatments are sometimes available to repair damage which does occur. There are also disposable undergarments as well as clamps that fit directly over the penis to prevent an unexpected flow of urine from occurring.


The exact treatments used for prostate cancer and incontinence which results will vary from patient to patient. Each situation is different and doctors must put the overall health of each person first. This means treating the cancer as the primary concern, even if urinary incontinence is the end result. Once this has been done, steps can be taken to reduce leakage and other issues resulting from treatment.

There are other steps for patients with prostate cancer and incontinence to reduce problems. Patients can be proactive in their treatment by drinking fewer fluids and doing daily exercises to strength the pelvic floor muscles. Avoiding substances such as alcohol and caffeine which may aggravate the urinary tract, can also be beneficial. With these strategies, some patients will regain full bladder control over time. Others may be able to better manage the condition and suffer from fewer embarrassing accidents over time.



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