About Prostate Cancer and Prostatectomy
The number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is increasing every year, while deaths due to prostate cancer have continued to decline. This may be due to the widespread use of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test to detect prostate cancer at an earlier and more treatable stage.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared radical prostatectomy with watchful waiting. It demonstrated the benefit of surgery in reducing the risk of cancer progression, metastatic disease and death.
While there are several treatment options for prostate cancer that promise similar results, radical prostatectomy offers some important advantages. It allows doctors to more precisely determine the stage of the cancer based on a pathological specimen, and the success of the operation can be determined within several weeks of surgery based on a simple PSA blood test.
Robot Assisted Surgery for Prostate Cancer
If your doctor recommends surgery to treat your prostate cancer, you may be a candidate for a new, less-invasive surgical procedure called robot assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy.
Using a surgical robot, our urologic surgeons are now able to provide a minimally invasive alternative that provides all the benefits of traditional laparoscopic surgery, but with important new advantages, thanks to the latest in computerized robotic technology.
Surgical Treatment Options
One of the most common treatments for prostate cancer is the surgical removal of the prostate, known as radical prostatectomy. This procedure has traditionally been done either by:
- open prostatectomy -- involving an incision from the belly-button to the pubic bone, significant blood loss and a longer, more painful recovery
- laparoscopic prostatectomy -- involving several small incisions in the abdomen, less post-operative pain, less blood loss and a speedier recovery.
The latest advancement in surgical technology is robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery. Robot assisted surgery provides the benefits of laparoscopic surgery but with important improvements, including:
- advanced optics that provide 10-times magnified, three-dimensional images of the prostate and surrounding nerves and tissues;
- robotic arms that eliminate even the slightest human hand tremors;
- instruments with “wrists” that pivot 540 degrees, for greater maneuverability than is possible with the human hands or laparoscopic instruments.
Our Multidisciplinary Expertise
Prostate cancer patients treated at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) have access to the complete range of treatment options currently available anywhere. Our patients benefit from the latest advances in research and treatment available only at an academic medical center.
Our multidisciplinary Genitourinary (GU) Oncology treatment program includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who work as a team to provide a coordinated, comprehensive treatment plan for each patient.
Robotic prostatectomy is performed in the medical center's state-of-the-art “OR of the Future” surgical facility, now equipped with a surgical robot. Follow-up appointments take place in the Stoler Pavilion, UMGCCC's outpatient center for cancer care.
For more information, call the University Physicians Consultation and Referral Service at 1-800-492-5538 (patients) or 1-800-373-4111 (physicians).