Taking action on men’s health
APA Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist Craig Allingham recently released The Prostate Playbook, which has information and strategies to reduce prostate cancer onset and progression.
Craig has been working in men’s health physiotherapy for almost 20 years, focusing on prostate cancer post-treatment intervention, side effects of surgery and radiation, incontinence and erectile dysfunction, which were addressed in his first book Prostate Recovery MAP–Men’s Action Plan.
Now, his second book focuses on how patients can slow, sabotage and even prevent prostate cancer from spreading. ‘There was a huge amount of evidence that is prostate cancer-specific, which relates to how you can suppress or sabotage your prostate cancer so that it stays fully-contained within your prostate, and doesn’t require treatment as you age,’ Craig says.
The idea to delve into the research and write this book came from a urology conference Craig attended in the United States. There, he noticed an obvious trend from experts in epidemiology, and in surgery, who were bringing a concept called ‘active surveillance’ as one of the treatment options.
This treatment option is for men whose cancers, when you screen them, are ‘low-value’. Craig explains, ‘there’s not much cancer in the prostate gland. They’re low-aggression, so they’re not highly-reproducing and likely to grow at great speed. So these are called the low-risk, or low-staging, low-grade prostate cancers, and they were saying that we should put these men on active surveillance, because these cancers are not the same as other cancers.’
Craig noticed that there wasn’t much talk about what the patient can be doing between six-monthly check-ups to reduce the chances of the prostate cancer progressing, but he realised that pelvic health physiotherapists could be well-placed to put a program together for a patient on active surveillance.
The three parts of the program that he covers in The Prostate Playbook (prostateplaybook.com) are the input, which is what the patient eats, drinks, or inhales. Throughput, which is how the patient processes information, and how men see their prostate cancer, in relation to themselves. And lastly is physical activity and training.
‘If a physio works in a space of men’s health and public health, it [the book] will be an excellent tool to provide to men who arrive for maybe a pre-operative treatment as part of a pre-op work-up. You can say “in addition to your exercises, here’s some lifestyle factors that are going to help reduce the recurrence rate of your prostate cancer, or the ongoing likelihood of it metastasising”. So it would be an education tool.’
Craig draws on his clinical research, applying it in the book to focus on keeping men healthy through prostate cancer while always referring back to ‘do this in conjunction with your treatment professional’.
‘When you get beyond your core product and are able to help men stay healthy for all sorts of other things that they actually haven’t come to see you for, I think that speaks volumes for our professional care model.
We’re not just looking at a patient’s needs today, we’re looking at total holistic health.’
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