Understanding Urinary Incontinence After Radical Prostatectomy: A Nursing Framework

Wellam F. Yu Ko

Jo-Ann V. Sawatzky

prostate cancer, quality of life
CJON 2008, 12(4), 647-654. DOI: 10.1188/08.CJON.647-654

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent malignancies diagnosed in North American men. Typically, men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer have two options for curative treatment: radiation therapy or radical prostatectomy (RP). Many men choose RP to remove the cancer; however, the intervention has two possible side effects that patients dread: erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence (UI). At least 50% of men who undergo RP suffer from UI, which can lead to embarrassment, loss of a sense of control, depression, and decreased social interactions. The Human Response to Illness Model provides a framework to gain a comprehensive understanding of the physiologic, pathophysiologic, behavioral, and experiential perspectives as well as personal and environmental factors related to UI following RP. Knowledge gained from these perspectives will help nurses design strategies that facilitate coping and improve outcomes in men with UI following RP.

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