The Purpose Of Prostate Surgery
Prostate cancer surgery, or radical prostatectomy, is a procedure conventional medicine praises for curing prostate cancer.
It has been performed for many years and was regarded as the gold standard of prostate cancer treatment. However, few studies compare its efficacy to other techniques.;
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer today are typically diagnosed with Gleason 6 cancer levels. But, according to many experts, this diagnosis may not be cancer! According to Mark Scholz, MD, a board-certified oncologist and expert on prostate cancer:
Misuse of the term cancer has tragic implications. Real cancer requires action and aggressive medical intervention with the goal of saving a life. But consider the potential havoc created by telling someone they have cancer when it is untrue. This dreadful calamity is occurring to 100,000 men every year in the United States with men who undergo a needle biopsy and are told they have prostate cancer with a grade of Gleason 6.
The impact of this is quite profound. Most prostate cancer diagnosed today falls into this Gleason 6. If it is not cancer, thousands of men have had aggressive treatment for cancer they dont really have.
Aggressive treatment, usually a complete surgical removal of the prostate , is the typical result. This leaves the patient to suffer from its side effects for the rest of their life.
What Happens To The Prostate After Radiation
The entire prostate gland is radiated when we treat the cancer. ;;The prostate normally produces some of the fluid in the ejaculation. ;;Radiation therapy has the side effect of damaging the glands in the prostate, so a lot less fluid is produced. ;The ejaculation may be dry or nearly dry. In addition, you will probably be sterile after radiation, but this is not 100% guaranteed and should not be relied upon as a form of birth control. You can still usually have erections because the nerves and blood vessels that go to the penis are not as damaged as the prostate gland.
The prostate gland will end up having a lot of scar tissue. ;It will shrink in size to about half its original weight within a couple years after finishing radiation. ;The urethra passes through the canter of the prostate gland like the hole of a doughnut. ;Sometimes this passage can widen, other times it can shrink after radiation. ;In summary, the prostate gland is heavily damaged from radiation and does not work normally afterwards.
Can You Remove The Prostate For Prostate Cancer If You Have Had Radiation Wellyes And No
One of the most common reasons I am given by patients choosing to have their prostate removed is the argument that one can do radiation after surgery but you cant do surgery after radiation. It is a valid argument and I think something to consider in the decision-making process. ;The concept is, however, not that cut and dried. Here are some caveats.
So, the rationale for choosing surgery because you can do radiation later is a reasonable decision, but not one that will always make a difference in your ultimate outcome. I feel it does make a difference in the situations I mention above, but you really wont know until you have the radiation and over an extended period of time your PSA goes down and never goes up again.
|Salvage Prostatectomy with Bladder Neck Closure, Continent Catheterizable Stoma and Bladder Augmentation: Feasibility and Patient Reported Continence Outcomes at 32 Months|
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What Is This Post All About
This is a hard decisionsurgery or radiation?
Now remember, what I am going to talk about here is for prostate cancer that hasnt spreadLOCALIZED prostate cancer.
;From a 30,000-foot view,;surgery and radiation or both EXCELLENT treatment choices for prostate cancer.; In general, you can pick and choose certain studies to support one treatment over the other but by and large they are both EQUAL in terms of cancer control.;
Now remember,;I am a urologist. I try my hardest to provide as unbiased as an opinion as I can but its impossible to remove the fact that I am urologist when providing this information. This is why;I will always have my patients meet with a Radiation Oncologist;as well as me;to hear from them about what radiation is all about as I talk to them about what surgery is all about.;;
What Happens Between Appointments
Contact your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns or get any new symptoms or;side effects;between your follow-up appointments.
Its important to speak to them if youre concerned about anything dont worry about them being too busy.
You can get support or advice over the telephone, or they might bring forward the date of your nextfollow-up appointment.
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Types Of Radical Prostatectomy
There are three main types of radical prostatectomy:
- Retropubic. In this procedure, the surgeon uses an incision in the lower abdomen to remove the prostate and the lymph nodes for examination. This procedure allows for a nerve-sparing approach, which can lower but not totally eliminate the risk of impotence following surgery. In the nerve-sparing approach, the surgeon tries to preserve one or both of the small nerve bundles needed for unassisted erections. However, if the cancer has spread to the nerves, this approach may not be advised.
- Laparoscopic. In this recently developed procedure, the prostate is removed in a fashion similar to a retropubic prostatectomy, but the procedure is performed through five very small incisions using lighted, magnified scopes and cameras. The prostate specimen is then removed in a small bag through one of the incisions, which is expanded to 2 to 3 cm to allow specimen removal.Potential benefits of this procedure are less pain and earlier return to full activities. Nerve-sparing methods and lymph node dissections can be performed with this technique as well.
- Perineal. In this procedure, the prostate is removed through an incision in the skin between the scrotum and anus. The lymph nodes canât be removed through this incision. If the lymph nodes need to be examined, removal can be done through a small abdominal incision or by a laparoscopic procedure. A nerve-sparing approach can be performed perineally.
What To Expect After Radiationtreatment For Prostate Cancer
Afterreceiving brachytherapy, if you receive pellets that give off radiation overthe span of a couple months, you will need a doctors note to travel,as some detection systems will be alerted. It is also recommended to avoiddirect contact with pregnant women and small children, even though theradiation does not travel far from the prostate.
Somepatients treated with EBRT can experience lymphedema when a buildup of fluidover time in the legs or genital region causes pain and swelling. Some casesmay not go away over time, but most are treated with physical therapy. Theradiation causes damage to the lymph nodes, blocking fluid from returning tothe heart.
Both typesof radiation have several shared side effects associated with the treatmentincluding:
- Urinary frequency
- Irritated urethra in the weeks following treatment
- Burning/bleeding during urination
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Other Key Findings In The Study
Patients who had lower PSA scores:
- Experienced an eight-year disease-free survival rate of 75 percent, compared with only 18 percent for those with the highest PSA scores.
- Had a 97 percent distant metastasis-free survival rate, compared with 73 percent for those with the highest PSA scores.
However, the study also indicated that, when a PSA is falling, there is no specific number that predicts future survivability.
While there is no magic number for the PSA that guarantees that prostate cancer has been cured in an individual patient, in general, the lower the PSA number, the better chances that the cancer will not return or spread, said Michael E. Ray, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
What The Research Shows About Radiation Vs Surgery
The ProtecT trial was a 10-year, randomized clinical study designed to compare radical prostatectomy, external-beam radiotherapy and active surveillance for the treatment of localized prostate cancer.
The results, published in 2016, showed that the rate of disease progression among men assigned to radiotherapy or radical prostatectomy was less than half the rate among men assigned to active monitoring. However, there was no significant difference in survival at the median 10-year mark for radiation therapy, surgery or active surveillance.
If youre interested in directly comparing treatment outcomes by treatment method and risk group , the Prostate Cancer Free Foundation provides an interactive graph on its website with information from data obtained from over 100,000 prostate cancer patients over a 15-year period.
As discussed earlier in the sections on the side effects of radiation therapy and surgery, the researchers conducting the ProtecT trial also looked at side effects and quality-of-life issues and found that the three major side effects of these two treatment options that affect quality of life after prostate cancer treatment are urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction and bowel health.
The trial found that urinary leakage and erectile dysfunction were more common after surgery than after radiation therapy. Gastrointestinal bowel problems were more common after radiation therapy.;
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External Beam Radiation Therapy
In this type of therapy, a machine outside the body is used to focus the beams of radiation on the prostate gland. It is used to treat early stages of cancer and helps to relieve you from symptoms such as pain.
Before the procedure, you will undergo simulation, which is a planning session. During this session, the radiation team takes measurements to find the correct angles for aiming the beams and the proper dosage.There are various types of EBRT namely:
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
- Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy
- Proton beam radiation therapy
Psa Levels After Treatment
A continuous rise in your PSA level can be the first sign that your cancer has come back. This should be picked up by your regular PSA tests.
The exact change in PSA level that suggests your cancer has come back will depend on which treatment you had. Speak to your doctor or nurse about your own situation.
Your PSA level should drop so low that its not possible to detect it at six to eight weeks after;surgery. This is because the prostate, which produces PSA, has been removed. A rise in your PSA level may suggest that you still have some prostate cancer cells.
After;radiotherapy;or;brachytherapy, your PSA should drop to its lowest level after 18 months to two years. Your PSA level wont fall to zero as your healthy prostate cells will continue to produce some PSA.
Your PSA level may actually rise after radiotherapy treatment, and then fall again. This is called PSA bounce. It could happen up to three years after treatment. It is normal, and doesnt mean that the cancer has come back.
If your PSA level rises by 2 ng/ml or more above its lowest level, this could be a sign that your cancer has come back. Your doctor will continue to check your PSA level and will talk to you about further tests and treatment options.
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What Will I Learn By Reading This
When you have treatment for your prostate cancer, you may have erectile dysfunction also known as impotence. Erectile dysfunction is a very common side effect . Side effects from prostate cancer treatment are different from one man to the next. They may also be different from one treatment to the next. Some men have no erectile dysfunction. The good news is that there are ways to deal with erectile dysfunction. In this booklet you will learn:
- What erectile dysfunction is
- Why prostate cancer treatment can cause erectile dysfunction
- What can be done about erectile dysfunction
- How erectile dysfunction may affect your sex life
- What your partner can expect
It is important for you to learn how to deal with erectile dysfunction so that you can continue to have a satisfying intimate relationship.
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Cancer That Is Thought To Still Be In Or Around The Prostate
If the cancer is still thought to be just in the area of the prostate, a second attempt to cure it might be possible.
After radiation therapy: If your first treatment was radiation, treatment options might include cryotherapy or radical prostatectomy, but when these treatments are done after radiation, they carry a higher risk for side effects such as incontinence. Having radiation therapy again is usually not an option because of the increased potential for serious side effects, although in some cases brachytherapy may be an option as a second treatment after external radiation.
Sometimes it might not be clear exactly where the remaining cancer is in the body. If the only sign of cancer recurrence is a rising PSA level , another option for some men might be active surveillance instead of active treatment. Prostate cancer often grows slowly, so even if it does come back, it might not cause problems for many years, at which time further treatment could then be considered.
Factors such as how quickly the PSA is going up and the original Gleason score of the cancer can help predict how soon the cancer might show up in distant parts of the body and cause problems. If the PSA is going up very quickly, some doctors might recommend that you start treatment even before the cancer can be seen on tests or causes symptoms.
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When To Call Your Doctor Or Nurse
Its important to tell your doctor or nurse if:
- your bladder feels full or your catheter isnt draining urine
- your catheter leaks or falls out
- your urine contains blood clots, turns cloudy, dark or red, or has a strong smell
- your wound area or the tip of your penis becomes red, swollen or painful
- you have a fever
- you feel sick or vomit
- you get cramps in your stomach area that will not go away
- you get pain or swelling in the muscles in your lower legs.
Your doctor or nurse will let you know if you should go to the hospital.
Higher Dose Radiation Raises Cure Rate
In the 2006 study conducted on nearly 5,000 radiation patients treated in nine academic U.S. radiation oncology departments standard doses for external beam radiation of the prostate were at or below 60 Gy.
Yet since then, radiation doses are often at or well above 70 Gy, due to the high-dose delivery systems in newer 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy , and Imaged Guided Radiation Therapy . Studies have shown that a higher dose of radiation significantly improves chances of the cancer not returning.
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When Is Radiation Therapy Used
There are some instances where the practitioners opt for radiotherapy for prostate cancer as opposed to other forms of treatment. Here are some of the situations in which radiation therapy may be used:
- As the first treatment of cancer, which is still confined to the prostate gland.
- It is used along with hormone therapy during the first treatment for prostate cancer that has extended the nearby tissues.
- After the reoccurrence of cancer in the area, it was before surgery.
- To keep cancer under control and relieve you from the symptoms for as long as possible if the cancer is advanced.
Dry Orgasm And Infertility
Both the prostate and the glands responsible for semen production are removed during surgery, which is a common prostate cancer treatment. If you received this treatment, youd still be able to have an orgasm but youd no longer ejaculate.
This means that youll no longer be fertile. If you plan to have children in the future, you may consider banking your sperm before your surgery.
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The Risk Of Your Cancer Coming Back
For many men with localised or locally advanced prostate cancer, treatment is successful and gets rid of the cancer. But sometimes not all the cancer is successfully treated, or the cancer may have been more advanced than first thought. If this happens, your cancer may come back this is known as;recurrent prostate cancer.
One of the aims of your follow-up appointments is to check for any signs that your cancer has come back. If your cancer does come back, there are treatments available that aim to control or get rid of the cancer.
Your doctor cant say for certain whether your cancer will come back. They can only tell you how likely this is.
When your prostate cancer was first diagnosed, your doctor may have talked about the risk of your cancer coming back after treatment. To work out your risk, your doctor will have looked at your PSA level, your Gleason score and the stage of your cancer. If your prostate has been removed, it will have been sent to a laboratory for further tests. This can give a better idea of how aggressive the cancer was and whether it is likely to spread. If you dont know these details, ask your doctor or nurse.
Short Term Side Effects
Patients who receive any type of radiation therapy to treat their prostate cancer can have side effects. Short term side effects are ones that start during or shortly after your radiation treatment. Below is a list of possible short term side effects. Treatments can affect each patient differently, and you may not have these particular side effects. Talk with your care team about what you can expect from your treatment
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