"Following radiotherapy primarily for prostate, bowel, cervical and endometrial cancers, people can develop Pelvic Radiation Disease (PRD) which is a debilitating and complex group of long-lasting symptoms, including serious problems with bladder and bowel control, sexual health, fertility, mobility and related mental health problems.
People with PRD frequently experience problems such as needing frequent, urgent access to a toilet, chronic fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance and overall being unable to live a normal life. The knock-on effect on personal relationships and finances is often life-changing.
One of our trustees, who has also been a volunteer at the Pelvic Radiation Disease Association (PRDA) for over 10 years, has personal experience of the loneliness that both patients and partners can feel. “Many people have daily problems with bowel and bladder control, which makes leaving the house extremely problematic,” she explains. “People with PRD often plan and organise trips out based on precise knowledge of where accessible toilets are. But coronavirus has caused so many shops, cafes and public toilets to close or have long queues, and many people are left almost completely housebound which has just made their sense of isolation even worse.”
PRDA offers a free ‘Just Can’t Wait’ card which may help you to jump toilet queues, or gain access to toilets which are not normally open to the public.
Since April 2020, our volunteer has been phoning many people with PRD to find out how they are getting on. As one of these people said “When I first found you, I felt waves of relief that there was hope, that I was not alone, you are the first person I have talked to in lockdown who understands”. PRDA is there to help people, and anyone with concerns our questions is very welcome to phone our helpline 01372 744338.