The NIH states that approximately one in six or seven men will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer at some point throughout their life.
A large portion of those diagnosed with prostate cancer will choose to have it surgically treated.
Several types of prostate cancer surgery are available. Prior to considering a surgical option, it is wise to have the condition evaluated by an independent source to assess the necessity of the surgery.
Being Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer
Receiving word of a prostate cancer diagnosis is one of the most difficult pieces of information for a man to hear.
Upon being presented with a health diagnosis, many males abide by the treatment advice given to them by their doctor without seeking out additional information on their own.
Many men who are set to receive a prostatectomy are unaware of the slight increase in their life expectancy, as well as the drastic reduction in their sexual functioning and overall comfort levels post-operation.
Particular emphasis should be placed on prostate cancer that is limited to a single gland.
It is advisable for anyone recommended surgery to seek out perspectives from multiple medical professionals or practices that have no vested interest in the result.
The Prostate Cancer Research Institute (https://pcri.org/) is a professional resource for men with prostate cancer, supplying specialized knowledge and information.
They offer a toll-free helpline for patients and their caretakers to guide them through the bewildering range of possibilities.
A large operation, such as a prostate removal, carries a great deal of danger of difficulties occurring.
Also, every prostate operation comes with a high risk of severe lasting consequences. Particularly in regards to sexual performance and continence, this holds true.
For a lot of older guys, the hazards related to surgical treatment could potentially be a lot more serious than if their condition were merely to move forward.
A 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine uncovered that 21.4 percent of males experienced undesirable events within a month after their surgical procedure, with one fatality occurring in this timeframe.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
Examining asymptomatic males with no indications of prostate cancer is a debatable topic. Different medical organizations have different opinions on whether the advantages of testing are higher than the potential threats.
Medical organizations urge men aged 50 and up to consult with their physicians regarding the advantages and disadvantages of prostate cancer testing. The dialogue should cover an assessment of the potential risks you are facing and the screening options you have chosen.
If you are a Black individual, have a lineage of prostate cancer or are at risk in other ways, it might be wise to begin the conversations sooner.
Prostate screening tests might include:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE). During a DRE, your doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to examine your prostate, which is adjacent to the rectum. If your doctor finds any abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of the gland, you may need further tests.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A blood sample is drawn from a vein in your arm and analyzed for PSA, a substance that’s naturally produced by your prostate gland. It’s normal for a small amount of PSA to be in your bloodstream. However, if a higher than usual level is found, it may indicate prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
It is debatable whether men who are in good health and have no indications of prostate cancer should be tested for the disease. There is a divide between medical organizations as to whether the advantages of testing exceed the potential dangers.
Medical organizations mostly advise men in their 50’s to talk to their physicians concerning the advantages and disadvantages of being tested for prostate cancer. We should talk about your potential risks and what your preferences for screening are.
It could be beneficial for Black individuals or those with a family history of prostate cancer, or other risk factors, to begin conversations about the issue sooner.
Ultrasound. A transrectal ultrasound requires the insertion of a probe, around the size and shape of a cigar, into the rectum. The investigation makes use of acoustic waves in order to generate an image of the prostate gland.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In certain cases, your physician might suggest an MRI scan of the prostate to generate a more thorough image. Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans could aid your physician in devising a plan to extract prostate tissue samples.
Collecting a sample of prostate tissue. A biopsy of the prostate may be advised by your doctor to figure out if cancerous cells are present in the prostate. A thin needle is usually employed for a prostate biopsy, in order to take a sample of tissue from the prostate. A lab inspects the tissue sample to find out if there are any cancerous cells.
Types of Prostate Cancer Surgery
The most prevalent method of surgery performed today to address prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy. This operation comes in many different forms, with different techniques and procedures.
No matter how it is done, the main purpose of the surgery is to completely remove the prostate gland.
The severity of the illness will dictate if other parts near the prostate, such as tissue, glands, nerves, and the seminal vesicles must be taken out.
There are three main types of radical prostatectomy. The intention behind all of these procedures is the same. But they differ in approach as well as side effects and risks:
This operation requires an incision to be made in the lower abdomen wall, starting at the navel and going up to just under the penis.
The doctor takes out the prostate and lymph nodes through the cut for further analysis. This procedure allows for a nerve-sparing approach.
This method of surgery is done by entering through the area between the scrotum and rectum.
This approach puts a focus on sparing the nerves but does not include the removal of lymph nodes. It might be necessary to make another small cut to achieve this.
This technique involves making multiple little cuts (generally about one centimeter or half an inch).
The surgeon makes tiny cuts and slides in lighted devices, cameras, and other equipment to look through and work with.
One of the tiny cuts is prolonged a bit to make space to take out the prostate and lymph nodes. This procedure allows for a nerve-sparing technique.
Robotic Laparoscopic Prostatectomy
A robotic prostatectomy is a procedure similar to a laparoscopic prostatectomy where a robotic system like the “da Vinci” device is used. The surgeon controls the robotic tools by sitting at a console, and the surgical incisions are much smaller than normal.
A surgeon must participate in extensive training and gain experience with robotic surgical instruments in order to be able to use them. This approach enables a type of surgery that protects the nerve and includes the removal of the lymph nodes.
Investigations conducted in recent times demonstrate that the effectiveness of the laparoscopic techniques, when accomplished by a competent surgeon, is similar to that of the open radical prostatectomy methodology.
The main benefit of laparoscopic surgeries is a faster recovery period, in addition to reduced blood loss and reduced post-operation pain.
The cuts that are made for a laparoscopic procedure are much smaller, thereby reducing the potential risks associated with surgery.
Benefits and Risks of Surgery
The potential dangers of a radical prostatectomy, like any other major surgical procedure, should not be overlooked.
Surgical dangers may include having a reaction to analgesic drugs, exorbitant bleeding, unintentional or incorrect harm to organs located nearby, circumstances of infection from surgical treatment, coagulation issues, and failing to heal correctly at the operative position.
Research indicates that a radical prostatectomy is a successful treatment for prostate cancer which has yet to go beyond the boundary of the prostate or breach the prostatic capsule, a fibro-muscular band located around most of the prostate.
The method is also implemented for more serious diseases in the expectation of a lasting healing. Nearly all individuals diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer survive for five years or longer.
During the operation, a catheter is put in the bladder in order to remove urine. The catheter will be left in for around 7 to 14 days following the operation.
The urine generated while recovering flows into an external pouch for collection.
When the prostate is taken out, so is the part of the urethra that goes through it. A catheter is put in place for 1-2 weeks so that the newly rejoined parts of the urethra can recover.
Generally, after enduring a surgical procedure, the client usually has to stay in the hospital for a few days; however, this period of time is contingent upon the individual’s health and the operation that was performed.
Many activities, particularly arduous ones, are restricted for multiple weeks. Hospital stays tend to be briefer when a laparoscopic procedure is done, and recovery time is shorter.
Coping and Support
When you are informed that you have prostate cancer, you may have a number of reactions – from shock and fear to anger, uneasiness and even despair. As time passes, individuals discover their own approach to handling a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Until you find what works for you, try to:
- Learn enough about prostate cancer to feel comfortable making treatment decisions. Learn as much as you need to know about your cancer and its treatment in order to understand what to expect from treatment and life after treatment. Ask your doctor, nurse or other health care professional to recommend some reliable sources of information to get you started.
- Keep your friends and family close. Your friends and family can provide support during and after your treatment. They may be eager to help with the small tasks you won’t have energy for during treatment. And having a close friend or family member to talk to can be helpful when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
- Connect with other cancer survivors. Friends and family can’t always understand what it’s like to face cancer. Other cancer survivors can provide a unique network of support. Ask your health care providers about support groups or community organizations that can connect you with other cancer survivors. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society offer online chat rooms and discussion forums.
- Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself during cancer treatment by eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables. Try to exercise most days of the week. Get enough sleep each night so that you wake feeling rested.
- Continue sexual expression. If you experience erectile dysfunction, your natural reaction may be to avoid all sexual contact. But consider touching, holding, hugging and caressing as ways to continue sharing sexuality with your partner.
Preparing for Your Appointment
If you notice any worrisome signs or symptoms, begin by visiting your primary care physician.
Your doctor might refer you to a urologist if they think you might have an issue with your prostate. If you are identified as having prostate cancer, you may be sent to an oncologist who deals specifically with cancer, or a radiation oncologist who specializes in the utilization of radiation as a cancer treatment.
It is beneficial to come adequately prepared for a medical appointment as there is usually a limited amount of time and a lot of relevant content that needs to be covered. In order to prepare and gain an understanding of what your physician may ask or do, here is some useful information.
What You Can Do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you’re taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Before your appointment, make a list of queries so that you can get the most out of the limited amount of time you have with your physician. Rank your inquiries in order of significance if you are short on time. For prostate cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do I have prostate cancer?
- How large is my prostate cancer?
- Has my prostate cancer spread beyond my prostate?
- What’s my Gleason score?
- What’s my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level?
- Will I need more tests?
- What are my treatment options?
- Is there one treatment option you think is best for me?
- Do I need cancer treatment right away, or is it possible to wait and see if the cancer grows?
- What are the potential side effects of each treatment?
- What is the chance that my prostate cancer will be cured with treatment?
- If you had a friend or family member in my situation, what would you recommend?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Apart from the queries you have ready to ask your physician, don’t be afraid to inquire other matters as well while you’re there.
Getting a diagnosis of prostate cancer necessitates a person researching potential treatment options and acquiring a second opinion from a medical expert. Do not wait to take action, as certain types of prostate cancer may spread more rapidly. Research indicates that as prostate cancer tends to progress slowly, the period of time used to assess the illness and potential treatments does not have an influential impact on the patient’s treatment outcome or long-term outlook.
The aftermaths of any form of treatment for prostate cancer–like surgery–can be highly detrimental and hugely upset one’s daily living.
Investing time in getting numerous medical opinions on prostate cancer can result in a more positive lifestyle.