If you’ve just been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, don’t despair. If it’s any consolation, prostate cancer is a highly treatable disease. In fact it’s 100% curable given that the cancer has been detected in its early stages.
Add to that the fact that prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer and the picture need not be bleak. Which means that all men could still expect to survive at least 5 years following diagnosis. And a pretty good chance that you could still be seeing yourself in the mirror 10 to 15 years from now. Reason why several men with prostate cancer die not because of the cancer but of other causes such as heart disease, stroke, or some other life-threatening ailments.
Still this cancer of the prostate gland is not something to be taken lightly. Considering that you have better prognosis when it’s early detected and when it’s given prompt treatment. Therefore, it is crucial that you talk it out with your doctor on what treatment plan is the most suitable for you. Doing so in a calm and deliberate way because there is no need to panic here.
Radical Prostatectomy – Defined: The first question that comes to mind when you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer is what treatment option do you have? When the cancer cells are still localized and your Gleason score is low, a common treatment option taken by many patients is the prostate cancer surgery. Also known as radical prostatectomy, prostate surgery involves the surgical removal of the entire prostate gland and the seminal vesicles. In some cases, the nearby lymph nodes may have to be removed as well depending on the judgment of the surgeon.
Types of Prostate Cancer Surgery
When prostate surgery makes it to the short list, the next question is what type of surgery.
Open surgery involves making a large, 4-inch incision on the abdomen in order to get to the prostate taken out.
Laparascopic prostatectomy is a minimally invasive surgery. What that means is a series of small incisions are made on the abdomen.
Specialized instruments used for the small incisions are then inserted through a pencil- thin, lighted tube called the laparoscope. The laparoscope is also equipped with camera lenses that will magnify the images of the tissues. These images are then transmitted to a TV monitor so the surgeon has a good view of what he or she is doing.
Robotic surgery is a subtype of laparoscopic surgery. In this case a robot does the surgery while being controlled by the surgeon. Also coined as the da Vinci robot, this procedure was really intended to reduce the risks brought about by open surgery. As a result, you get to expect less pain, less bleeding, shorter time of recovery, less discomfort during recovery, and less chance of waking up in post op facing side effects like impotency and incontinence. Because of these many benefits, more and more prostate cancer patients are looking into this approach.
Nerve sparing surgical techniques may also be employed which involves preserving the nerve endings that control bladder and sexual functions in order to again reduce the risk of side effects.
Patients who undergo prostate cancer surgery usually have to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days while total recovery is expected in 4-6 weeks.
After the procedure, a catheter will be inserted into the penis in order to drain the bladder. This stays with you within 10-14 days to allow sufficient time for the wound to heal following surgery. While unpleasant it’s simply a fact of life with this treatment option. It’s something you just have to deal with.
Anticipating the Side Effects
The two most common side effects of prostate surgery are incontinence and impotence. Frequent visits to the public restrooms are common. And it is not an unusual scenario to find yourself stuffing your grocery cart with male pads and adult diapers. The sex life you once had may also go on hiatus. Much to your chagrin you may find that you’re not the same wild man in bed you once were. Hopefully your wife will learn to accept that too.
Because of these changes in your daily routine, you can’t also help but be affected emotionally and mentally. Many men who have undergone the surgery were reported to experience depression and shock since they could no longer normally enjoy their sex lives.
But these side effects are likely to pretty much diminish over time. Some men noted that their lives got back to normal after two years. However, the rate of sexual recovery will vary from person to person. And it depends on what you’re willing to do. For example a guy who consistently does Kegel exercises may be able to recover from problems with incontinence faster than a person who does not perform such bladder control routines.
Deciding to undergo prostate cancer surgery is something you need to think about carefully. You need to weigh out the benefits of the surgery and its risks. It’s also best to discuss these to your doctor so he can thoroughly guide you in managing your disease.