With Prostate Cancer Treatment, Precision Matters
With prostate cancer treatment, millimeters matter. Here’s why: Nerve fibers and blood vessels attached to the prostate gland are responsible for urinary and sexual (erectile) function. These nerves and vessels can often be saved if the cancer is only in the prostate. It's also very important that your surgeon operate with precision and control to avoid damaging these nerves and vessels as they are separated from the prostate. This is often known as a nerve-sparing prostatectomy.
During radiation treatment, doctors do not have such precise control. In one study of newer radiation beam therapy, the average variation or difference in the radiation beam target between treatment sessions was 3 millimeters.1 What does 3 mm mean to the patient? This small variation can cause damaging radiation to be delivered outside the prostate where delicate nerves are located.
Precision with da Vinci® Surgery
Surgeons use the precision, vision and control of the da Vinci System to help them remove the cancerous prostate while saving important nerves and blood vessels. Recent studies found that da Vinci Prostatectomy resulted in lower positive margin rates compared to open surgery for localized (T2) prostate cancer.2,3,4 Positive margins mean cancer cells are present at the edge of the tissue that was removed. The lower the positive margins, the better. A low positive margin means there is a low chance of the cancer returning.
Cancer control is based on each patient's specific cancer type. The experience of your surgeon is an important factor. Patients whose cancer has spread outside the prostate may not be eligible for a nerve-sparing procedure. Talk to your doctor about what your individual expectations should be regarding cancer control.
Read how the da Vinci System decreases urinary symptoms
- Boda-Heggemann J, Köhler FM, Wertz H, Ehmann M, Hermann B, Riesenacker N, Küpper B, Lohr F, Wenz F. Intrafraction motion of the prostate during an IMRT session: a fiducial-based 3D measurement with Cone-beam CT. Radiat Oncol. 2008 Nov 5;3:37.
- Coronato EE, Harmon JD, Ginsberg PC, Harkaway RC, Singh K, Braitman L, Sloane BB, Jaffe JS. A multi-institutional comparison of radical retropubic prostatectomy, radical perineal prostatectomy, and robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy for treatment of localized prostate cancer. J Robotic Surg (2009) 3:175-178.
- Weerakoon M, Sengupta S, Sethi K, Ischia J, Webb DR. Predictors of positive surgical margins at open and robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: a single surgeon series. J Robotic Surg (2011) DOI 10.1007/s11701-011-0313-4.
- Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), reporting to the Minister of Health-Ireland. Health technology assessment of robot-assisted surgery in selected surgical procedures, 21 September 2011.
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