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Your Health

Robotic Prostate Cancer Treatment: A Growing Choice For Men

Posted: 1/11/2013

For the hundreds of thousands of men battling prostate cancer, robotic treatments are becoming increasingly popular
For the hundreds of thousands of men battling prostate cancer, robotic treatments are becoming increasingly popular, tripling their use in the treatment of prostate cancer over the last five years.

(NAPSI)—It’s one of the most common cancers facing men over 50 today—prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, with nearly two-thirds receiving a diagnosis at age 65 or older. For the hundreds of thousands of men battling this cancer annually, deciding how to treat the disease is often difficult as there is no shortage of treatment options. Among the options, robotic treatments are becoming increasingly popular, tripling their use in the treatment of prostate cancer over the last five years. Two robotic treatments are fast becoming the most talked about and widely used treatments for prostate cancer: the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System and the da Vinci® Surgical System. In fact, more than 112,000 robotic prostate procedures were performed last year alone using the CyberKnife or da Vinci System.

At first look, the two treatments look and sound pretty similar. Both options use robots and boast quick recovery times and minimal side effects—Including erectile function preservation-but the similarities end there. While the name “CyberKnife” conjures up visions of a space-age scalpel, the treatment is actually noninvasive and doesn’t require surgery. During a CyberKnife treatment, the CyberKnife robot delivers high doses of targeted radiation directly to the tumor site, minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and organs. This is possible due to a built-in mechanism of the CyberKnife robot that tracks every motion of the tumor and/or prostate in real time and throughout treatment. CyberKnife treatments are typically delivered in five outpatient sessions and last about an hour each. The patient doesn’t need anesthesia and is never hospitalized. Many men continue with their daily routines during treatment, including working and low-impact activities like golfing, and report few side effects after treatment. In fact, clinical studies have found that CyberKnife patients return to normal activities faster compared to any form of surgery including robotic surgery.

Warren, a 69-year-old attorney from Long Beach, N.Y., is one such patient. With an active lifestyle and as the owner of a law practice, Warren sought a treatment for his prostate cancer that would allow him to return to his normal activities and the demands of his busy life as soon as possible. When he learned about the unique benefits that the CyberKnife treatment offered, in addition to being a treatment supported by strong long-term data, he knew it was the right treatment for him. Immediately after receiving his first CyberKnife treatment, Warren put in a full day’s work. “After the first procedure with CyberKnife, I felt fine. I felt really nothing. I didn’t feel tired. I didn’t feel fatigued.” Warren is thankful that the CyberKnife was offered as a treatment option to him and hopes more men like him will learn about it so they too will have a seamless treatment experience.

Meanwhile, the da Vinci surgical procedure is referred to as robotic surgery, but that’s not entirely true, as it is unable to perform surgery independently. Rather, it is powered by the hands of a surgeon. Because a surgeon must drive the da Vinci machine, it takes hundreds of procedures to perfect one’s technique, in order to increase the rate of optimal patient outcomes. Several studies have documented this steep learning curve; therefore, patients are encouraged to seek an experienced surgeon who has performed hundreds of da Vinci procedures. Patients undergoing treatment with the da Vinci undergo general anesthesia for the procedure and are hospitalized for a short time post-procedure. During treatment, the surgeon manipulates the daw Vinci machine and extracts the patient’s prostate. Because this is surgery and an incision is made, there is an anticipated recovery time of four to six weeks.

While both treatments take a very different approach to treating prostate cancer, both boast similar effectiveness in terms of treating the cancer and preventing a recurrence. The natural confusion that may exist for men learning about these two robotic treatment options underscores the importance of fully understanding the pros and cons of existing treatment options and asking doctors enough questions before making treatment decisions. Patients should perform their own research and seek a second opinion if they feel uneasy about the recommended treatment path they are offered.

The good news is that most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2.5 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today. Regardless of a patient’s location, there are experienced medical professionals throughout the country who can guide them through a prostate cancer diagnosis and the latest cutting-edge treatment options, providing them and their loved ones the information needed in the battle against prostate cancer.

For more information on the CyberKnife System and to see more of Warren’s CyberKnife treatment experience, please visit www.cyberknifeforprostate.com.

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