September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. A majority of men will experience prostate health problems at some point in their lives. If the diagnosis is prostate cancer, surgical removal of the prostate gland is considered the “gold standard” for treatment. Men between 40 and 70 years of age who are in otherwise good health are good candidates for this surgery.
Traditionally, surgical removal of the prostate gland involves a long incision and a lengthy recovery period. Another surgical method, minimally invasive surgery (also known as laparoscopy), offers men many advantages over the traditional surgery to remove the prostate gland. With minimally invasive surgery, there is less blood loss, less pain following surgery, shorter hospital stays, and more rapid recoveries. The cancer cure rate is equal to the traditional method, and a man’s quality of life is excellent both in terms of continence and potency.
As the name suggests, with minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon “invades” the body as little as possible through a few small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon uses the incisions to insert a laparoscope, a small telescope connected to a video camera. The camera transmits a picture to a monitor, which the surgeon views to help guide the instruments used to remove the prostate gland.
Columbia St. Mary’s is one of only a few health care facilities in Wisconsin that offers laparoscopic surgery for the removal of the prostate gland.
Facts About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and remains confined to the prostate gland for many years. During this time, there are few or no symptoms. As the cancer advances, it can spread into the surrounding tissues, and also can metastasize (spread even farther) into other parts of the body. Symptoms and signs, therefore, are more often associated with advanced prostate cancer.