About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime according to the American Cancer Society. The good news: Because of medical technology advances, such as the da Vinci Robot and the latest treatment procedures, prostate cancer treatment keeps getting better and the experience is getting much easier for patients.
The American Cancer Society also reports the relative survival rate continues to increase—nearly 100% of patients survive five years, 91% survive 10 years and the 15-year survival rate is 76%. TDC Urology highly recommends early diagnosis, getting a second opinion and exploring your treatment options before making decisions.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
While prostate cancer symptoms can be similar to symptoms of an enlarged prostate, early prostate cancer often has no symptoms. Symptoms of urinary problems, caused when the prostate tumor presses on the bladder or urethra, may indicate more advanced disease. However, urinary symptoms are much more commonly caused by benign prostate problems, such as an enlarged prostate (BPH) or prostate infections.
Less than 5% of the cases of prostate cancer have urinary problems as the initial symptom. When urinary signs and symptoms occur, they can include:
- Starting and stopping while urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
Cancer in the prostate or the area around the prostate can cause:
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
Prostate cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvis may cause:
- Swelling in the legs
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
Advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones can cause:
- Bone pain that doesn’t go away
- Bone fractures
- Compression of the spine
Managing and Treating Prostate Cancer
TDC Urology’s physicians first meet each patient in our comfortable office setting. The meeting occurs with the patient fully dressed. We’ll discuss what’s happening. Are you seeking a second opinion? Treatment? We will guide you through treatment options. For example, your physician will determine whether treatment is required and counsel you on the type of treatment you might pursue. Your doctor will also advise you on whether to seek radiation therapy. If you are 70 or older and your prostate cancer is growing slowly, you might opt for expectant management (also called watchful waiting or active surveillance).
Thanks to breakthroughs in surgical technology, there is also a new category of surgery for which you may be a candidate. It is a highly effective, minimally invasive alternative to both open surgery and traditional laparoscopy. Through the use of the da Vinci Surgical System, TDC Urology’s surgeons routinely perform robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy.
Other Treatments for Prostate Cancer
Brachytherapy is an advanced cancer treatment in which radioactive seeds are placed in or near the tumor itself, giving a high radiation dose to the tumor while reducing the radiation exposure in the surrounding healthy tissues. The seeds used in prostate brachytherapy emit a low level of radiation that doesn’t travel beyond the prostate. Because there is such a small amount of radiation involved, it is not considered a significant risk to others.
Cryotherapy is an option for prostate cancer patients who want to avoid major surgery or the risks of watchful waiting. Cryotherapy can treat prostate cancer patients in the intermediate- and high-risk groups as well as those who have failed previous radiation treatment. The goal of cryotherapy is to eradicate prostate cancer by freezing the prostate gland.
Prostate cancer cells are just like all other living organisms—they need fuel to grow and survive. Because the hormone testosterone serves as the main fuel for prostate cancer cell growth, it is a common target for therapeutic intervention in men with prostate cancer.
Hormone therapy, also known as androgen-deprivation therapy or ADT, is designed to stop testosterone from being released or to prevent the hormone from acting on the prostate cells. Although hormone therapy plays an important role in men with advancing prostate cancer, it is increasingly being used before, during or after local treatment as well.
Until recently, chemotherapy was used only to relieve symptoms associated with very advanced or metastatic disease. With the publication of two studies in 2004 showing that the use of docetaxel (Taxotere) can prolong the lives of men with prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy, more and more doctors are recognizing the potential benefits of chemotherapy for the men they treat with advanced prostate cancer.
Building on these successes, there are now dozens of clinical trials studying various combinations of chemotherapy drugs, some using new mixes of older drugs and some using newer drugs. Some trials are looking to find a chemotherapy regimen that’s more tolerable or more effective than docetaxel in men with metastatic disease. Other trials are looking to find a chemotherapy regimen that can delay the onset of metastases, and still others are seeking to improve upon the results obtained with docetaxel by adding other novel agents to it and testing the combination.
The da Vinci Robot
Surgery and radiation therapy remain the standard treatments for localized prostate cancer. Thanks to advances in surgical technology, there is a new category of minimally invasive surgery for which you may be a candidate. It is an effective alternative to both open surgery and traditional laparoscopy. The surgeons of TDC Urology are the most experienced urologic robotic surgeons in the West Sound region and Kitsap Peninsula.
Imagine major surgery performed through the smallest of incisions. Imagine having the benefits of a definitive treatment but with the potential for significantly less pain, a shorter hospital stay and a faster return to normal daily activities—as well as the potential for better clinical outcomes.
With the da Vinci Surgical System, TDC Urology’s surgeons offer the most advanced surgical options to treat this disease. The da Vinci is changing the experience of surgery; that’s why da Vinci prostatectomy is the #1 choice for treatment of localized prostate cancer in the United States. It’s a minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgical procedure that removes the cancerous prostate gland and related structures.
The potential benefits of da Vinci prostatectomy are:
Effective Cancer Control
- Studies have shown that experienced surgeons have achieved excellent results in removing prostate cancer without leaving cancer cells behind.
- Accurate diagnosis and staging are obtained when the entire prostate gland is removed and evaluated.
Improved Results Over Traditional Treatments
- Studies have shown that most patients experience a rapid return of sexual function.
- Studies have shown that most patients experience a rapid return of urinary continence.
- Surgery has a higher and longer survival rate than radiation or other treatments.
- Surgery also has a lower risk of long-term complications than radiation treatments.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
The da Vinci Surgical System enables surgeons to perform even the most complex and delicate procedures through very small incisions with unmatched precision.
Additional patient benefits may include:
- Significantly less pain
- Less blood loss
- Less scarring
- Shorter recovery time
- A faster return to normal daily activities
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, we welcome you to come in for a second opinion or to discuss your options. Click on the providers’ images below to learn more about our Urology team.