November 5, 2015 | by Veronique de Turenne
Although an estimated one-third of American women are affected by pelvic floor disorders, which include urinary and fecal incontinence, as well as uterine and vaginal prolapse, cultural constraints keep many sufferers from discussing their conditions, or seeking treatment.
Christopher Chung, M.D., a City of Hope urogynecologist who specializes in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, wants to help change that. On Nov. 11, as part of National Bladder Health Week, he will offer a free seminar about pelvic floor disorders, their causes and methods of treatment.
“This event is for all women who suffer from a pelvic floor disorder,” Chung said. “Whether they have bladder control issues such as frequent urination or incontinence, extreme vaginal dryness, pelvic prolapse and wide vaginal openings due to multiple births, pelvic pressure or pain, or stool control issues, we can address the problem.”
Solutions range from physical therapy and medication to Botox injections and surgery. Many conditions can be cured, and almost all can be successfully managed. In every case, Chung coordinates treatment of the pelvic floor disorder with his patient’s ongoing cancer care.
“We have a lot of tools and modalities at our disposal,” Chung said. “We offer individualized treatment for each patient according to their needs at each stage of their cancer treatment.”
Addressing existing pelvic floor disorders, or PFDs, at the start of cancer treatment is unique to City of Hope’s approach, Chung said. Tissue that has been irradiated during cancer treatment often becomes weak and extremely delicate, making cancer survivors poor candidates for surgical repair. By including PFD treatment at the start of a cancer patient’s regimen, existing problems can be successfully addressed.
Another thing City of Hope does differently is to use a woman’s own tissue for surgical repair, Chung said.
"Mesh is not a good idea for cancer patients because, as the immune system is compromised during treatment, having a foreign material in the body is problematic,” Chung said. “But we have the skill and knowledge to perform successful reconstruction with a patient’s own tissue."
For more information on pelvic floor disorders, join Chung on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at City of Hope's Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, where he'll explain the treatment and management of such conditions. The presentation is free, but reservations are recommended. Please call 626-218-2925. Light refreshments will be served.
Learn more about our unique patient experience, how to make an appointment or get a second opinion at City of Hope. You may also request a new patient appointment online or call 800-826-HOPE (4673) for more information.