da Vinci Robotic Surgery a quicker back to work, back to life option for prostate cancer patients.
Robotics offer a helping hand in prostate surgery
Oct. 5, 2010
Most men don't think about prostate cancer until they're in their late 50s or early 60s. That's when, all too frequently, they run into friends about their age who've faced the diagnosis.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men and is expected to kill about 32,000 of them in 2010, according to the American Cancer Society. When it comes to cancer deaths, only lung cancer kills more men.
But the news is not all grim.
The options for prostate cancer treatment have improved significantly over the last couple of decades. Ask 65-year-old Peter Lewis of Lisle, who took advantage of one of the latest surgical advances - advanced robotics.
This past August, Mark Fisher, MD, of DuPage Medical Group, removed Lewis' cancerous prostate gland with the help of Edward Hospital's da Vinci Surgical System. The system's robotic arms, which are operated by a surgeon, provide a steadiness and precision beyond human capabilities.
Lewis was out of the hospital the day after his prostatectomy, which he describes as "painless." He returned to work within two weeks and now reports feeling great.
Prostate cancer treatment involves one or more of the following: radiation, surgery, hormone treatments and chemotherapy. The best fit for the patient depends on the type and stage of the cancer, and size of the prostate, as well as age and overall health. The patient's feelings about the side effects of each option are also taken into account. Among the possible side effects are incontinence and/or impotence, which can be mild and temporary, but can also be severe and permanent.
Traditional open prostatectomy involves a long incision and requires four to six weeks before a patient can return to work and/or normal activities. Today, most prostate cancer patients who choose surgery are candidates for one of the minimally invasive options, typically involving a few small incisions and less pain, like da Vinci, the option chosen by Lewis.
"Robotics is an exciting development in minimally invasive surgery," said Dr. Paul Lyon, of DuPage Urology Associates and one of the da Vinci surgeons on the Edward medical staff.
"The system gives us better visibility with its 3D magnification and greater flexibility to get into difficult-to-reach places."
There are also less taxing radiation treatment options available for prostate cancer patients. Radiation used to be limited to external beam radiation therapy involving radiation coming from a machine outside the body. Now, many early stage patients who choose radiation therapy are candidates for brachytherapy, which uses the placement of tiny radioactive seeds in the prostate, an approach that minimizes radiation damage to surrounding healthy tissue and reduces side effects.
Brachytherapy patients sometimes return to normal activities the next day.
For most men, prostate cancer grows slowly, giving them ample time to evaluate treatment options with their doctor. A "watchful waiting" or active surveillance approach may even be appropriate for some with early stage, non-aggressive prostate cancer.
"When I learned I had prostate cancer, I read about it and talked to other men who've been through this," Lewis said. "I liked the idea that with surgery, the cancer in the prostate is gone once and for all. But, it would be hard for me to take a couple of months off, so if I didn't have access to the da Vinci System, I don't think I would've gone the surgery route."
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services