Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men. It is also one of the most treatable cancers with a 93 per cent five-year survival rate.
That’s the good news. The tragic news is that prostate cancer treatment itself can dramatically change a patient’s life. Ian Pattison, who survived prostate cancer 15 years ago, has dealt with the side effects of prostate cancer treatment including incontinence for most of those years.
“Men who have to go through post-prostate cancer issues – it’s awful. It can ruin your life and take over,” Pattison said.
Surgery and radiation treatments caused damage to the urethra. That led to incontinence and yearly blockages requiring painful catheterization and scraping.
“Patients who experience urination problems are miserable,” said Dr. Walid Shahrour – a man Pattison calls “a godsend” for Thunder Bay.
Dr. Shahrour, a urologist specializing in reconstructive surgery, developed a new technique right here in Thunder Bay to eliminate blockages. Although it is a highly technical procedure, there is actually less chance of further complications outside of risks normally associated with surgery. It could be the start of a speciality program for patients all across Canada.
“I find this specialty very satisfying because I can change a life in a happy way,” Dr. Shahrour said.
Pattison was the first patient in the world to undergo the new procedure – and so far it looks to be a great success. After 18 months, Pattison hasn’t had a blockage since. He also chose to get an artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) giving him full bladder control for the first time since his prostate cancer treatment.
“He said, ‘This procedure is going to change your life.’ And he was absolutely right,” Pattison said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
However, each AUS costs $10,000 and isn’t covered by OHIP. Dr. Shahrour and two other urologists started the Urology Fund at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation to help cover those costs for men who need the surgery. It will also help fund more equipment and research so that men recovering from prostate surgery will have more treatment options in the future.
Pattison made his donation to the Urology Fund already.
“I thought it was so important to support the Urology Fund because I’ve seen firsthand what a difference this makes,” Pattison. “His care and his new procedure have changed my life completely.”
You can help, too. Donate online at healthsciencesfoundation.ca/donate-now or call our Donation Centre at (807) 345-4673 and direct your gift to the Urology Fund. You’ll ensure prostate cancer survivors across Northwestern Ontario suffering from treatment side effects will get the help they need to lead a better quality of life.