Prostate Cancer Surgery: Consider Options Carefully When Battling the Disease
Aug 12, 2009
One in every six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime–a scary reality for most men. But with greater awareness, prostate cancer detection is on the rise and mortality is declining. That’s why it’s important for men to have their prostate checked at routine medical exams starting at age 40. If a man is experiencing frequent urination, pain or stiffness in lower back, or unable to maintain an erection, he should get his prostate checked.
Men should also educate themselves on prostate cancer treatments. “As the second-most common cancer in men, treatments for it have changed dramatically in the past few years with more patients considering minimally invasive options,” said Kevin Zorn, M.D., chief of urology at Weiss Memorial Hospital, and assistant professor and co-director of the Minimally Invasive UroOncology Fellowship Program at the University of Chicago.
Weiss Memorial Hospital’s Healthful Hints offers these prostate cancer surgical treatment options specifically for radical prostatectomy:
- Robotic: Robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy with the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System is the latest advancement in prostate technology. It enables surgeons to work laparoscopically, but control their instruments with robotic arms giving them more precision with resection and suturing, which potentially results in greater urinary and erectile function. More important, there is reduced blood loss and a much lower risk for the need of blood transfusion.
- Laparoscopic: Using a series of small incisions, this minimally invasive procedure uses a specialized surgical camera and rigid instruments to access and remove the prostate. It provides the surgeon with better visualization than in an open approach and the patient, a quicker recovery time.
- Open: This traditional approach uses a larger 4- to 6-inch incision to access the prostate. It often results in substantial blood loss and a higher risk for blood transfusion, and potentially a longer hospitalization and recuperation time. Moreover, the catheter is usually kept in place seven to10 days compared to four to five days with the robotic approach.
Ultimately, it is the experience of the surgeon that is most important for optimal cancer outcomes; this includes the number of procedures performed. Visit www.weisshospital.com/robotic-surgery for help with questions to ask when choosing your prostate surgeon. Be sure to check with your doctor to determine the right procedure for you and to understand the surgeon’s experience in each of these approaches since there is a link between surgical volume and superior outcomes.