When diagnosed early, prostate cancer is a highly curable disease for which most men are treated early and go on to live active and productive lives.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
The TriHealth Cancer Institute offers several treatments for those diagnosed early with prostate cancer, including:
- Watchful waiting
- Radiation therapy
- Brachytherapy (radioactive seeds)
- Cryosurgery (freezing the prostate)
- Surgical removal of the prostate (radical prostatectomy)
But which treatment option is best for a patient is based on a number of factors including the stage of the cancer, the patient’s Gleason score and the patient’s age and general health.
For the majority of patients diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, surgical removal of the prostate or radiation therapy are the primary options. In cases when the cancer also is localized to the prostate, it is highly curable through radical prostatectomy surgery.
Prostatectomy and Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy
Prostatectomy includes removing the prostate gland completely to cure the cancer and reconstructing the urinary system so that normal bladder control is achieved and sexual function can be maintained. The primary goal of the procedure is removal of the cancer. A secondary goal is to preserve urinary function and – when applicable – erectile function.
Open prostatectomy traditionally involves an 8- to 10-inch incision to access the prostate. The incision extends from the belly button down to the pubic bone, just above the penis. The muscles then are separated to gain access to the prostate gland and the anterior surface of the bladder. This approach often results in substantial blood loss and lengthy, uncomfortable recovery.
Some of these drawbacks are addressed with the laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. It uses smaller incisions and usually results in a shorter recovery period.
Despite these advantages, conventional laparoscopy relies on rigid, counterintuitive instruments and video quality that can be challenging for the surgeon. Moreover, neither laparoscopy nor open surgery can provide adequate maneuverability around the delicate nerves surrounding the prostate that control sexual function.
Robotic-Assisted Prostatectomy: A Less Invasive And More Effective Option
Robotic-assisted surgery is a less invasive and potentially more effective alternative to laparoscopic and open radical prostatectomy.
When performed robotically with TriHealth’s da Vinci Surgical System, the prostatectomy is done with unparalleled precision and control through a few small incisions along the abdomen.
Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Prostatectomy
Potential patient benefits of the robotic prostatectomy include:
- Less pain
- Less risk of wound infection
- Less blood loss
- Less scarring
- Faster recovery
- Quicker return to normal activities
The technique also has been shown to offer improved cancer control and a faster return to erectile function and continence. As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient- and procedure-specific. While robotic-assisted prostatectomy is considered safe and effective, it may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.
Illustrations courtesy of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.