Making quality of life a priority after pelvic injuries or cancer

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Making quality of life a priority after pelvic injuries or cancer
The Fox Chase-Temple Urologic Institute uses new techniques and medications to restore a patient's quality of life after pelvic injuries.

DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania. (WPVI) -- Whether they're from accidents or cancer treatment, injuries in the lower pelvic area can be life-changing.

However, new techniques can restore a good quality of life.

A routine construction job in 2020 suddenly turned disastrous for Brad Loving of Doylestown.

"I was on a ladder, overreaching, and I slipped and just scissored right onto that," Brad recalls.

"That" was a pointed piece of wood, and Brad's groin landed squarely on it.

"It was full impact," he says.

His urethra, which leads out of the bladder, was crushed.

Doctors had to take a wait-and-see approach, to see if scarring developed inside the urethra. It did.

"I just all of a sudden could no longer pass any urine," he says.

Brad mistakenly thought he was dehydrated and drank more water, adding to the backed-up fluids.

Soon he was in misery, and back at the ER.

"They did a catheter through my stomach, and were able to relieve some of that pressure," he says.

Dr. Jay Simhan of the Fox Chase-Temple Urologic Institute says pelvic trauma can also occur after bladder or prostate cancer treatments.

And it affects more people as better treatments save more lives.

"Commonly in men, they might have to confront the risk of erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence, and in women, they might have to confront the risk of urinary incontinence," says Dr. Simhan.

"This is the most sensitive thing that people sometimes don't even want to talk about amongst their own family members," he adds.

Dr. Simhan says the Institute is making quality-of-life and solving incontinency or erectile dysfunction a priority.

One goal is to have oncologists discuss it with patients from the beginning.

"They might pick between various treatment modalities, based on what their quality of life might be," he says.

If problems develop, solutions are tested to be sure they work before patients leave the office.

Nearly four years after reconstructive surgery, Brad is still doing great.

"Dr Simhan gave me my life, basically, back," Brad says.

And he's turned that nasty chunk of wood into a humorous trophy.

"It's a kind of uncomfortable scenario to talk about. So you might as well throw some humor in there," he notes.