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No need for a big cut

Minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer

Sunday, October 01, 2017

IN Jamaica, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. If caught early, before it has spread outside of the prostate, it can be cured.

The prostate gland, which is found in the pelvis, produces the fluid part of semen and is involved in urination. For the month of September, prostate cancer awareness month, the Jamaica Cancer Society promoted screening to detect prostate cancer early when it is still curable.

Screening involves a rectal examination and a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.

Early localised prostate cancer is highly treatable with almost a 100 per cent five-year survival rate.

Prostate cancer is divided into low-intermediate and high risk disease. Low-risk disease is unlikely to progress and can be monitored by active surveillance. This involves the regular monitoring of PSA. If there are signs of progression, then definitive treatment is needed.

Patients diagnosed with intermediate or high-risk disease require immediate treatment and have a choice of radiotherapy or surgery.

In Jamaica, surgical options include open and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Traditionally an open radical prostatectomy has been used, which involves making a cut (incision) in the lower tummy (abdomen) to give the surgeon access to the prostate. Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy is a minimally invasive surgery where small incisions are made to allow access for a thin telescope (laparoscope) and surgical instruments. In the United States and Europe, the “open” technique has been largely replaced by minimal invasive techniques.

The advantages of minimally invasive surgery over open surgery include:

• Shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time;

• Less blood loss;

• Keyhole incisions resulting in smaller scars for improved cosmetic results;

• Minimal pain; and

• Lower risk of infection.

When caught early, prostate cancer is curable and all functions can be maintained.

Dr Roy McGregor is a consultant urologist who specialises in minimally invasive prostate cancer surgery. Email feedback to