SAN ANTONIO (August 30, 2011) – Urinary incontinence is a common problem that can be worsened by cancer and some of its related therapies. But many treatment options exist for incontinence, and that is the subject of the next free public lecture at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
The best treatment depends on what caused the problem and what the patient is willing to do to control it, said Stephen Kraus, M.D., professor and vice chairman of urology in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center, who will speak on Thursday, Sept. 8 at the CTRC lecture.
There are different types of incontinence. Stress incontinence is leakage that occurs with activity such as during coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercise. Urge incontinence is leakage that begins with a sudden urge to urinate. Many people have a combination of both. Some men develop incontinence after prostate cancer treatment such as surgery or radiation. Women already have a greater chance of having incontinence, which can worsen after cancer surgery, radiation or other therapies.
Effective treatments can range from changing behaviors, such as cutting caffeine or not drinking fluids late in the evening to performing exercises either alone or with a therapist, Dr. Kraus said. “We also have very effective medications and even minor procedures and surgeries.”
Incontinence is not a life-threatening problem, but it is a quality of life problem that affects a lot of people. “Some some patients don’t pursue treatment, either because they’re embarrassed or they think all we have to offer is surgery and they fear the treatment itself,” Dr. Kraus said. “Since we have a wide range of treatments to choose from, the choice should be one that can improve the patient’s quality of life without scaring them or making them feel uncomfortable.”
In many cases, the cause of incontinence is quickly apparent. But with cancer patients, he said, “it requires a little bit of detective work.”
“The workup is different because we have different causes, so we need to look at all the possible reasons to find the right treatment.”
The presentation will be Thursday, September 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the CTRC, 7979 Wurzbach, on the fourth floor of the Grossman Building. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, call (210) 450-1152.
The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.ctrc.net.