Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month — Restoring Normalcy

After cancer surgery to remove his prostate about five years ago, Bernard Cancel faced a frustrating dilemma common to men in his situation — male stress urinary incontinence, or unintended urine leakage.

Cancel, now 62, was using four to five incontinence pads a day for two years to protect himself following the operation, an experience Cancel described as miserable.

But a medical device called ProACT™, implanted by a University of Florida Health urologist, has changed Cancel’s life and is allowing him to regain a lost sense of normalcy.

Cancel, who lives about an hour’s drive south of Gainesville in the community of Belleview, was 57 when he was diagnosed with stage III prostate cancer, which required the removal of his prostate and subsequent radiation therapy. But suffered incontinence as a result, a common side effect of the procedure.

Cancel visited UF Health Urology — Medical Plaza to see urologist Lawrence L. Yeung, M.D., an associate professor and medical director in the University of Florida College of Medicine’s department of urology. Yeung recommended the implantation of the ProACT device.

Yeung in 2018 became one of the first surgeons nationally to begin implanting the ProACT system about a year after its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He has even trained other urologists in ProACT implantation.

In ProACT therapy, two small, adjustable silicone balloons are surgically implanted during a 30-minute outpatient procedure in the area where the prostate has been removed or resected. The balloons are connected by tubing to filling ports located just under the skin of the scrotum.

The balloons, when filled by saline, provide pressure and support to the bladder neck, protecting against the accidental leakage of urine, Yeung said.

What makes the system attractive to patients is that the balloons are easily adjustable by a physician via an injection at the scrotal ports. Saline also can be drawn from the system.

ProACT is designed to treat men who have stress urinary incontinence due to intrinsic sphincter deficiency after radical prostatectomy — removal of the prostate — for prostate cancer or surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as an enlarged prostate. 

“Just Dr. Yeung’s aura gives me a sense of confidence,” Cancel said. “I had no questions and no worries. Having this procedure is a no-brainer.” 

Cancel had the surgery in October 2018.

Yeung, who practices reconstructive surgery of the genitals and urinary tract for defects that result from trauma, cancer, infections and other causes, said the implantation was successful.

“He ended up having a very good outcome,” Yeung said. “It seriously changed his life. Male stress urinary incontinence is treatable.”

Post-surgery, Cancel uses one pad per day just for safety. He drinks coffee, is physically active and no longer worries about incontinence.

“Dr. Yeung is like an angel,” Cancel said. “I knew I was in good hands.”

About the Author

Leacy Burton