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Understanding Radical Prostatectomy As A Prostate Cancer Treatment Option

Jul 10, 2008
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in American men. It is also the most common cancer found among men over fifty in the United States and continues to grow at a rampant rate. If prostate cancer is detected early, it is very curable with the proper treatment.

There are quite a few treatment options to choose from when selecting the appropriate procedure. One of the best procedure options for you to consider is a radical prostatectomy. A radical prostatectomy is a common treatment method that involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland. The radical prostatectomy procedure is mainly encouraged for young, healthy men under the age of 70. A prostatectomy is not typically performed on men 70 and above because of the serious complications that can occur.

Choosing a Surgeon:

It's suggested that patients seeking the best treatment outcome seek a qualified urologist with training in prostate cancer prostatectomy. With an experienced surgeon, the radical prostatectomy should take no more than two hours to perform, with no need for blood transfusion. Depending upon the urologist's skill set in performing the procedure, the patient may wear a catheter for only a few days instead of the maximum three weeks.

Radical Prostatectomy:

A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the prostate gland. It is a major surgical procedure which is performed in a hospital with the patient under general anesthesia. This procedure is considered to offer the second greatest chance for long-term survival (the highest cure rates are found at a radiation therapy practice in Georgia where they use a combined radiation procedure). During a radical prostatectomy, the surgeon removes the entire prostate and then reconnects the urethra and bladder. After surgery is complete, patients usually remain in the hospital from two to four days.

Complications to the Prostatectomy Procedure:

The outcome of the treatment, cure and complication rates vary based on the urologist performing the surgery. However, the most common complications following prostate cancer treatment are urinary incontinence (uncontrolled urine leakage) and erectile dysfunction (ED, the inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse). The majority of men receiving this treatment will suffer from some degree of urinary incontinence and ED immediately following surgery, but should gradually improve over time.

A prostate cancer radical prostatectomy is one potential solution. Let's look at the issue of prostate cancer from a higher level.

Selecting the Proper Treatment that's Right for You:

Choosing the most appropriate prostate cancer treatment for an individual depends upon several factors. These include:

- Which treatment option is going to offer the best chance of curing the cancer (and be careful here as there are many definitions of "cure" - but the only one that has been proven reliable is 0.2 ng/ml five years post-treatment).

- Potential side effects associated with the different forms of treatment.

- Examining the rate at which the cancer is growing and how fast it's spreading to determine the most effective course of treatment

- Patient age, life expectancy and general health, including any other medical conditions

- The experience and training of the treating physician

There is always some form of shock to men when diagnosed with this type of cancer. Men need time to react and not rush into any healthcare decision early. Its recommended men review all prostate cancer treatment options, outcomes and complications, with a physician to select the best treatment that's right for them. And don't be afraid to ask your physician tough questions - ask them how long they trained on the procedure they recommend, and what their personal cure rate is.

Where to Get Additional Information:

While your healthcare provider is a good source for prostate cancer information and answering your questions/concerns related to your medical condition, it's also important that if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer that you take the time to educate yourself on this disease. Prostate cancer is usually slow-growing, so you have time to do the research on the best treatment option for you, so check the web, read articles and books, and try to talk with others who have faced the battle you are now facing yourself and find out what they did.

No two patient's healthcare conditions are exactly alike and recommendations can vary with physicians. You should conduct your own research to learn and understand prostate cancer and all the available treatment options. With very few exceptions, you only have one chance at being cured; with proper knowledge you'll be able to make the most efficient and effective decision.
About the Author
John Critz helps inform men about prostate cancer treatment options including prostate cancer radical prostatectomy. His company, RCOG helps educate males about radical prostatectomy among other procedures.
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