NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Feb 18, 2014) - Prostate cancer treatment options, including robotic surgery and radiation therapy, carry the potential risk of incontinence and erectile dysfunction (ED). For most men, these side effects are easily mitigated and resolved in the short term. However, new evidence shows that men who opt for radiation therapy over robotic prostate surgery may face more significant health risks, including cancer recurrence following treatment.
A Canadian study involving more than 30,000 men found three major health issues linked to prostate cancer treatment: bladder and rectal bleeding, hospital readmissions, and cancer recurrence. Patients undergoing radiation therapy were up to 10 times more likely than surgery patients to experience these problems. David B. Samadi, MD, Chairman of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, advises patients to weigh short-term and long-term risks before choosing a prostate cancer treatment.
"The reality is that both radiation and robotic surgery have potential side effects involving continence problems and sexual potency. The key difference is that with surgery these issues are more like speed bumps: temporary concerns that can be resolved. Men need to be forward thinking about the significant risks of radiation," explains Dr. Samadi, SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) surgery innovator.
Prostate cancer radiation, worse over time
"I always encourage my patients to determine their own definition of success," says Dr. Samadi. "Do you prefer a one-time hospital stay or the potential for repeat admissions throughout several years? Can you manage minor, short-term incontinence to avoid long-term bladder and rectal bleeding?"
Radiation and prostatectomy have fairly comparable prostate cancer success rates. However, thirty percent of radiation patients had extended issues with rectal bleeding, bladder bleeding, and hospital readmissions.
"Robotic surgery is an excellent, definitive treatment, but that doesn't mean quick fix," stresses Dr. Samadi. "Prostate cancer treatments always require a recovery process. The question is: how long do you want yours to last?"
Robotic surgery, curative prostate cancer treatment
Robotic surgery completely removes the cancerous prostate, while radiation attempts to destroy prostate cancer cells through external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) or brachytherapy. Radiation patients in this study were three percent more likely to experience a second cancer, most often gastrointestinal, within five to nine years of treatment.
"With robotic prostate surgery, men are back on their feet in one day," says Dr. Samadi. "Initially, radiation may be less invasive, but follow-up treatments needed to resolve major side effects can be fairly invasive."
Dr. Samadi, a world-renowned robotic surgeon, is one of a few uniquely trained and experienced in open, laparoscopic, and robotic prostate surgeries. Combining this broad expertise into his own SMART surgery method, Dr. Samadi has performed more than 5,600 successful robotic procedures to date.
The study was published in The Lancet Oncology, February 2014,