Meet the Instructor of the Male Oncology course!

Michelle Lyons

This March, H&W is launching a brand new course on Oncology and the Male Pelvic Floor. This course was developed by H&W faculty member Michelle Lyons, PT, MISCP.

Pelvic Rehab Report sat down with Michelle to learn more about her course.

PRR: What inspired you to create this course?

ML: I am very passionate about oncology rehab and pelvic physical therapy. While it has been great to see the huge advancements being made in the provision and recognition of pelvic physical therapy, I often feel that cancer survivors don’t always get the treatment they deserve – they don’t fall exclusively into the domain of the pelvic therapist or the oncology therapist. Add to this the lack of awareness in the medical community about the benefits of physical therapy generally (and pelvic physical therapy especially) and it becomes obvious that a lot of pelvic oncology patients, both men and women, have many issues that we can help address. The first step is creating awareness, both with our medical colleagues and with cancer survivors, about the benefits of physical therapy

What resources and research were used when writing this course?

I like to use a wide range of resources when creating a course. My main priority was to determine if there was a need for this service – I visited cancer survivorship websites and forums and asked on various social media sites, as well as talking to medical and therapy colleagues, about their opinions on the topic. The answer was a resounding ‘We need this!’

I read hundreds of journal articles, interviewed healthcare professionals and patients as well as drawing on my own professional experience. I want this course to be based on the best evidence based medical practice out there, but more importantly, I want to make the information immediately clinically applicable, so there will be a generous allotment of time to discussing and practising manual therapy techniques and exploring different ideas for exercise prescription. I believe we are all students and we are all teachers; I know I learn something new every time I teach, so I am really hoping these classes will be a forum to get therapists brainstorming and planning how best to serve this community

Can you describe the clinical/treatment approach/techniques covered in this continuing education course?

We will be looking at how to apply the skills we have to help problem solve pelvic issues such as bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction, but also thinking about the sequelae and complications of cancer treatments such as osteoporosis, fatigue and cognitive changes. I want to discuss the necessary precautions and contraindications we need to be aware of but also to look at how to develop the skillset we already have to really enhance cancer survivors’ quality of life

Why should a therapist take this course? How can these skill sets benefit his/ her practice?

Fortunately, we are seeing more people living longer lives as cancer survivors – there have been huge advances in the treatment of many pelvic cancers. But these treatments do have side effects that impact on the pelvic health of the many men and women who battle pelvic cancers. We are the experts in pelvic rehabilitation and I think we need to expand our skillsets to offer cancer survivors access to our expertise. The many exciting changes we are seeing in cancer care means that therapists need to be able to not only assess, treat and educate cancer survivors but also to be able to show that the work we do has a body of research to demonstrate the value of what we do. I think developing an expertise in pelvic oncology will be of huge value to a therapist’s repertoire of marketable skills, but I can also tell you that working with pelvic cancer survivors will be one of the most rewarding aspects of your career. You will literally be changing people’s lives.

The course will be offered January 25-26 in San Diego, CA. Don't miss this brand new offering - Register today!

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