Treatment for prostate cancer depends on;
- The stage of the disease
- The location of the cancer
- The severity of symptoms
- Your general health and level of fitness.
Treatment, which you need to research to find the best one for you, may involve the following:
- Active surveillance
- Radiotherapy - 3 options;
- External beam therapy)
- Internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy)
- Combination of both above
4. Hormone therapy
5. Surgery - 3 options
- Open Surgery
- Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
- Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
I chose the latter. In robotic--assisted prostatectomy, the laparoscopic surgery is done using a robotic system. The surgeon sits at a control panel in the operating room and moves robotic arms to operate through several small incisions in the patient’s abdomen. Advantages of this option include; less blood loss, less recovery time and less pain during recovery. Evidence suggests that the side effects, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, with this type of surgery are the same as for all surgery options. For the surgeon, the robotic system may provide more manoeuvrability and more precision when moving the instruments than in the standard radical laparoscopic prostatectomy. It is important to ensure the surgeon is experienced in carrying out this procedure.
In deciding on which treatment to opt for, you should collate as much information about each option as possible. Making a decision is often hard to make on your own so talk to family, friends and men who have already undergone treatment. When talking to other men who have undergone treatment it is important not to assume that their outcome, good or bad, may not be the same for you. It may also be worth getting a second medical opinion. Be cautious when researching information on the internet and make sure you are getting advice from authoritative websites. Beware of YouTube videos, from men who speak in glowing terms about their outcomes because they had treatment carried out by a particular surgeon or oncologist.
My Consultant Urologist was very experienced in carrying out this procedure.
In opting for surgery I recognised I had three problems to overcome;
- Erectile dysfunction
I was confident that my surgeon would remove the cancer if it hadn’t spread outside the prostate gland to other localised tissue. I did need support from my surgeon to help me with erectile dysfunction by sparing as many of the nerves responsible for erection as possible. Unfortunately because of the location of the cancer it was only possible to save the nerves on one side – unilateral nerve sparing. There were times when my surgeon seemed to be bewildered that I seemed to be more focused on ‘nerve sparing’ than on the fact that I had prostate cancer. I didn’t share my determination to achieve my goal with him. After the procedure it was up to me to overcome incontinence and erectile dysfunction. I was intent on recovering from both and minimising the impact prostate cancer was going to have on the rest of my life.
My procedure took place on 4th of May 2016 and I was up walking the next day. I was discharged from hospital at 11am on the 6th May. Following the procedure I had a catheter in place and this was scheduled to be removed one week after the date of my discharge.