What Is Incontinence, How Often Does Treatment For Prostate Cancer Result In Incontinence, And How Is It Diagnosed?

Ted DeWeese, M.D., Johns Hopkins

Jan. 01, 2009 -- Question: What is incontinence, how often does treatment for prostate cancer result in incontinence, and how is it diagnosed?

Answer: Urinary incontinence is the leakage of urine that occurs in an involuntary manner. Urinary incontinence is a side effect of prostate cancer management. And in fact, from surgery, about five percent of men will have total urinary incontinence, that is to say, uncontrollable leakage which would require an undergarment full time. And about 20-30 percent of men would have some what is termed stress incontinence, occasional leakage of urine with a coughing or sneezing that might require a pad in their underwear once or twice per day.