Our population is ageing and one outcome of this is an increase in the numbers of men with prostate cancer. With higher levels of awareness, prostate cancer is being diagnosed earlier, and conventional treatment has a much higher likelihood of success. Oncologists say that most men “die with prostate cancer rather than die from prostate cancer”.
One common treatment is radiation therapy. However, there is a potential side effect from radiation therapy; one that is rarely spoken about. In a small but still significant number of cases, men develop a stricture in the urethra, making it difficult to pass urine. In more serious cases, this can lead to embarrassing leakages, infections and a number of associated health concerns.
The onset of these side effects mostly do not manifest for years after the radiation therapy. We are about to see an influx of otherwise healthy men who having recovered from prostate cancer, are finding it difficult to pass urine. These patients will present across a spectrum of mild to serious.
Conventional urological approaches have not been successful in helping these patients. In fact, most end up being passed back and forward between specialists and GPs, and for many, the best outcome they can hope for is having to make use of external urine drainage bags. The numbers of men suffering this fate will increase, and this life sentence is impacting men at younger ages. A man post prostate cancer in their 50s may still have 30 years left with this infliction.
Moreover, men are notoriously poor at discussing intimate health issues. While there is plenty of PR, awareness and support for types of cancer that affect women (both sufferers and families), men are loathe to talk about problems with their penises. Inability to pass urine, incontinence or in extreme cases, leakage from the anus, can all impact sexual function, self-esteem and ultimately, mental health.
The founders of MURAC Health have invented a world first surgical approach that will fix radiation caused urethral strictures (and a number of other hard to fix penis related problems). It required a world class Urologist (Dr Justin Chee) and a world class Plastic Surgeon (Dr Ajay Chauhan) to collaborate and combine their expertise in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Most Urologists focus on the prostate. Dr Chee is a sub-specialist within a specialisation – unusual in that he focuses his surgical practice on the penis and urethra, and is the only doctor in Australia who can operate on the penis via the perineum (means no penile incision). Likewise, Dr Chauhan is also one of the few surgeons within the Plastics speciality who focuses on reconstructive plastics and micro surgery – often post cancer.
Combining their skill and knowledge, they can re-grow a urethra from a patient’s own tissue, and transplant that urethra back into the patient with less surgical intervention than is typical when operating within this hard to access area. Successful cases are mounting up, and medical specialists around the country, and internationally, are increasingly hearing of, and seeking out this expertise.
Most surgeons are not naturally collaborative by nature. Moreover, Plastic Surgeons and Urologists would typically have very few reasons to work together. It was a rare coincidence of friendship and trust that led to the development of MURAC Health's world first surgical approach. Our highly specialised doctors will return to many men their normal penile functionality, but equally importantly, their sense of dignity, sexuality, masculinity and ultimately, quality of life.
At your initial consultation we will discuss your current health status and history and to determine the best treatment for your individual needs. Contact us to discuss your needs or schedule an appointment today.