Cancer Survivorship Research

Support for urologic oncology patients does not stop once the disease is controlled. The U-M Department of Urology Division of Urologic Oncology is at the forefront of the field of urology in working with cancer survivors to maintain their quality of life after successful cancer treatment. This work includes support for patients, partners and families, as well as cutting edge research in cancer survivorship.

Research

Cancer survivorship research at in the Urologic Oncology Division examines the critical and often unmet needs of urologic cancer survivors, such as inadequate preparation for physical and emotional changes after surgical prostate cancer treatment, the couples’ recovery of sexual intimacy and self-management of treatment-related side-effects. In engaging in this kind of research, the investigators aim to protect and enhance survivors’ quality of life after treatment.

The urologic oncology team within the U-M Department of Urology is setting the standard for research in the field of prostate cancer survivorship. Having secured grant-support and developed partnerships and collaborations, the Department of Urology is regarded highly as a leader in cancer survivorship research nationally and internationally.

Prostate Cancer Survivorship Initiative

At the University of Michigan Rogel Comprehensive Cancer Center, our goal is to provide our patients with strategies to optimize their overall health and wellness - now and in the future. The Brandon Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program is designed for men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer and will be treated at the Rogel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

All new patients are automatically referred into the Brandon Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program the program as a part of their prostate cancer care.

An overall goal of survivorship care is to assist patients in learning more about the side-effects of prostate cancer treatment and rehabilitation strategies to address them in order to optimize recovery. The program supports patients in developing a healthy lifestyle to maximize their quality of life after prostate cancer treatment. The program offers:

  • An individualized treatment d plan of care. Partners are invited to all the appointments. Topics discussed include:
    • Prostate cancer screening
    • Assessment and management of side effects of treatment – urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction
    • Pelvic floor rehabilitation for urinary incontinence
    • Erectile aids
    • Assessment of sexual health concerns and counseling or sex therapy
    • Female partners’ management of menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms
    • Screening for depression and anxiety that may arise from the recovery
  • Referrals can be made, if needed, to:
    • nutrition services
    • PsychOncology Clinic
    • Palliative Care Clinic
    • the Patient Education Resource Center
    • Complementary Therapies

The Clinic

We encourage you to bring your partner to the prostate cancer survivorship appointment because recovery from the urinary and sexual side effects affects both of you. An open discussion with both partners can help overcome obstacles to recovering intimacy. If you do not have a partner, bringing a family member or a support person can be very helpful to the recovery process. We can provide privacy for a one-to-one discussion of sexual concerns when the support person is not a partner.

The frequency of visits and topics discussed are tailored to each patient's specific needs. The goal of our individualized care is to help you through all aspects of your recovery.

A Typical Visit

A typical visit takes about 45 minutes with each provider. During a visit, patients meet with a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant, and with a certified sex therapist. All have had with extensive education and training in the care of prostate care patients.

The patient (and partner) meets with a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant. Patients receive a comprehensive physical exam followed by open discussion about topics of concern related to their individual prostate cancer histories.  After this appointment, or at a separate time, the patient (and partner) meet with a certified sex therapy to discuss sexual recovery after treatment.

To ensure continuity of care, a treatment summary and survivorship care plan is sent following the visit to the patient, his primary care physician and the physician who referred the patient to this program. The patient will return to the care of his original oncology team should he have symptoms of recurrence or if there is a change in his cancer treatment plan.

Click here for more information on the Department of Urology's urologic oncology team.