Although this article is two years old, it’s more accurate today than the day it was written. Robotic Surgery has rapidly became the treatment of choice for men with prostate cancer. In part, this is due to heavy marketing campaign of surgeons and treatment centers. While they tout the benefits of surgery I wonder how many men/ couples were told the results found in this study:
“Within two years of surgery, the researchers found that 81 percent of the men who underwent the procedure experienced erectile dysfunction, 17 percent had urinary incontinence with symptoms such as "dribbling" or having "no control over urine," and 12 percent reported bowel dysfunction. I wonder what would happen if those statistics were presented to men/couples prior to surgery. Would that influence the decision making process for men?
Here’s another finding I thought was disturbing:
With early stage prostate cancer surgery did not significantly reduce the men's risk of dying from the cancer or any cause, as compared with the observation approach. (Active Surveillance)
There’s no doubt too many men are choosing surgery in the early stages of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, for those men, surgery won’t make a difference in their survival rates. Instead of an extending their lives, these men will needlessly suffer permanent life altering consequences.
There's another reality men need to take into consideration. Prostate Cancer can be a deadly disease. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. So Prostate Cancer is NOT a disease to be taken lightly.
In order for men to make the right treatment decision it’s important to deal with your previous experiences with cancer. The odds are you’ve known one or more people who’ve died as a result of cancer. The word cancer is associated with vivid images of suffering and death. Those powerful images give rise to fear.
Making a fear-based decision about treating your prostate cancer will result in you choosing the most aggressive form of treatment available. For most men that’s surgery.
The most important thing for men to do is hold off on making a decision about treatment until you have all the facts about your specific cancer. If it’s aggressive, aggressive treatment is required. If it’s not aggressive, choosing active surveillance may be the appropriate treatment option. I can’t say this often enough, make your treatment choice based on your diagnosis rather than your fears.
If now or in the future someone you know is diagnosed with prostate cancer, I hope you'll share this blog with them.
For men who want to know more about impact that robotic surgery has on your sexuality and relationships consider reading the book my wife (Brenda Redner) and I (Rick Redner) wrote about our experiences. Here’s the link to: I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? You can also visit my website at:
Where is your prostate?
Here you'll find a lot of information about the surgical option.