The APA encourages Aussies to talk about men’s health during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

1 September 2015

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is urging Aussies to speak more openly about men’s health during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The APA is encouraging men diagnosed with prostate cancer and who are to undergo surgery to seek pre and post-surgery consultation with a pelvic floor physiotherapist.

The APA believes that it’s imperative for Australian men to speak more openly about men’s health – and to raise awareness about the side effects of prostate cancer surgery, specifically incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Up to 95% of men will experience incontinence after radical prostatectomy, yet with the assistance of a pelvic floor physiotherapist, most men will recover.

Marcus Dripps, APA President, believes that the stigma around prostate cancer and men’s health needs to be addressed. He would like to see increased awareness about the side effects of prostate cancer surgery and the treatment options offered by physiotherapists in communities across Australia.

“Prostate cancer is the second most fatal cancer affecting men, yet there’s still a taboo about the topic and many men are embarrassed to speak about the side effects of surgery to treat the disease.

“Many men with prostate cancer believe that Mother Nature will take its course in their recovery from surgery and return them to full continence, however this is not always the case. With the help of a pelvic floor physiotherapist, men can return to full health sooner and regain a good quality of life,” said Dripps.

Working in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), the APA has developed a program of approved physiotherapy exercises to assist men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and choose to have a radical prostatectomy.

Incontinence and erectile dysfunction are significant side effects arising from surgery to treat prostate cancer. Most men will be incontinent and have erectile dysfunction straight after the surgery and for around 5% of men, incontinence will persist a year later.

The APA encourages men to be proactive about “pre-habilitation” in preparation for prostate cancer surgery, using pelvic floor muscle exercises to help bladder control. New Physiotherapy research has shown how pelvic floor exercises should be taught in order for men to benefit most from the program. These tailored exercises shorten the time and severity of men’s incontinence thus improving their quality of life.

Prostate cancer is now the most diagnosed cancer in Australian men, and the second most common cancer to cause mortality in men. Over 20,000 men are diagnosed with the disease each year, with a staggering 3,300 succumbing to the disease.

To find out more information about prostate health, or to find a suitable physiotherapist, visit

About the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA)

The APA is the peak body representing the interests of Australian physiotherapists and their patients. It is a national organisation with state and territory branches and specialty subgroups. The APA represents more than 18,500 members who conduct more than 23 million consultations each year. To find a physiotherapist in your area, visit

For further information, or to speak with an expert physiotherapist, please contact:

Ruth Heenan, Australian Physiotherapy Association
T 03 9092 0813, 0416 565 332 E
Priscilla Troung, Ogilvy PR
T 03 9246 6266 or 0432 627 973 E