A close friend had some bad news recently: A biopsy indicated prostate cancer.
Despite the fact that prostate cancer has one of the highest survival rates, hearing you have it is a real jolt.
Over the next days and weeks, my friend had a lot of information to process and choices to make. But, a new option has arrived and it is growing in popularity – it’s called the “DaVinci Method.’
Several Treatment Choices for Prostate Cancer
There are several treatments that are fairly well known and have been the preferred choices over the years. These include cryosurgery (where the prostate is frozen), prostatectomy (where surgery completely removes the prostate gland and some surrounding tissue), radiation, hormone therapy, herbal treatments, and in some cases doing nothing at all (referred to as “watchful waiting”) until more evidence of the cancer’s growth is observed.
Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming. There’s no guarantee that any particular choice will be better or more successful than another. Reading and re-reading information, talking to any number of medical professionals and experts, and doing your own research is a must. But at the end it is an individual choice and one that each man has to be comfortable with.
Newer Procedure Selected
In the end, my friend’s choice was to select a relatively new procedure involving a robotic procedure that has been around for a relatively short time. The DaVinci Surgery System involves the use of a robotic technique. The use of a robotic device is not new for surgical procedures. Robot-assisted surgery has been available since around 1985. But the DaVinci system was new when it was introduced in 2000 as the first system approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the purpose of laparoscopic surgery (a process where a laparoscope to see and remove the prostate by way of a long tube with a light and camera on the end is inserted through small cuts in the stomach).
Less Traumatic, Invasive
The DaVinci system is considered by most experts to be a less traumatic and less invasive method of treating prostate cancer. One of the greatest benefits, says Dr. Peter Pinto of the National Cancer Institute, is that DaVinci offers a better chance at preserving the nerves that are critical in terms of avoiding impotency and/or incontinence, two of the greatest concerns men have.
In the DaVinci surgical process fewer and smaller incisions are necessary than in other types of prostate surgeries. Through a cylinder the robotic tools enter the patient without the doctor’s hands ever having to enter the wound. The DaVinci system allows the doctor to keep his or her hands on the DaVinci console. Indeed, the console may actually be a distance from the patient – even in another part of the operating room entirely.
The DaVinci system allows the surgeon to view the surgery site in magnified two-dimensions thereby providing a clear image of the surgical area that is as near to seeing the area with the naked eye as possible. Surgeons also report there is greater range of motion with the DaVinci system than with previous methods of conducting prostate procedures. Another benefit of the system is that it helps eliminate the effect of any unwarranted movement – a slight hand shaking for example.
Recovery Time Reduced
The DaVinci system offers a faster recovery time because the incisions are smaller and there are less of them. But, it is surgery and as with other prostate surgery there is the need for a catheter to be inserted to help the area heal, perhaps as long as one or two weeks. With the DaVinci system the time is reduced to three or five days. And the length of the hospital stay after the surgery is reduced to as little as one day.
My friend chose the DaVinci method and is healthy, happy and enjoying his life secure in the knowledge that he made the right decision for him.