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Prostate Problem Guide

Experience Is Important When It Comes To Prostate Cancer Surgery

With the majority of things in life it is fair to say that the more practiced and experienced you are the better your performance will be and this would certainly seem to be the case when it comes to prostate cancer surgery.

A major problem with cancer is that, despite the best efforts of your surgeon, it has a bad habit of returning in a number of cases. In the case of prostate cancer following the total removal of the prostate by radical prostatectomy recent studies show that, while the likelihood of a recurrence are approximately 18 percent where surgery is carried out by a relatively inexperienced surgeon, this figure falls to less than 11 percent in more experience hands. So exactly what do we mean when we talk about 'experienced hands'?

A recent study examined 7,800 prostate cancer patients who underwent radical prostatectomy in the United States between 1987 and 2003 involving a total of 72 surgeons from 4 major academic cancer centers around the country.

Interestingly enough the study showed that there is an extremely steep learning curve when it comes to carrying out prostate surgery and that it requires considerable practice to master this particular surgical technique. Indeed, the study revealed that it was not until surgeons had carried out a minimum of 250 operations that a marked improvement in recurrence rates was evident.

So exactly what can we learn from this study if we are faced with the prospect of requiring prostate surgery?

First it is extremely important that patients choose a surgeon who regularly performs this type of surgery. Indeed, it could well be advisable to choose a surgeon who specializes exclusively in prostate surgery, or whose work revolves largely around such surgery. In many general settings surgeons will carry out such surgery infrequently, perhaps as rarely as just one or twice a year, and this is not sufficient to give them the expertise necessary to provide you with the best possible change of a low recurrence rate.

In the light of this therefore your first choice should without doubt be a specialist cancer treatment center and of a surgeon whose work involves exclusively, or very largely, prostate surgery.

The study also showed however that there is a marked improvement in recurrence rates not merely for specialist cancer centers, but also for teaching facilities. This is because, within the academic setting, a good deal of emphasis is placed upon supporting mechanisms designed to assess the outcome of procedures and to provide feedback in an effort to create an environment in which continuous improvement is seen. This is not always the case in non-academic facilities. In addition, academic centers tend to attract people who are particularly interested not only in the outcome of their work but in correcting their errors and improving their technique.

So, if you find yourself in the position of needing prostate surgery then you would be well advised to choose to have surgery at the hands of an experienced surgeon who works in a specialist cancer center within a major teaching facility.

Further information on prostate cancer:

Padres to join MLB efforts to raise prostate cancer awareness - 10News


Padres to join MLB efforts to raise prostate cancer awareness
10News
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Padres will mark Father's Day Sunday by joining the rest of Major League Baseball in seeking to increase awareness of prostate cancer and raising funds to fight the disease. Teams will wear special Father's Day jerseys and ...

Ken Griffey Sr., Jr., take a crack at prostate cancer - Fox News


Fox News

Ken Griffey Sr., Jr., take a crack at prostate cancer
Fox News
Griffey Sr. was diagnosed with prostate cancer 11 years ago at age 55, despite experiencing no symptoms. He credits his mother with possibly saving his life by encouraging him to get his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels checked as part of his ...

and more »

A prostate cancer summit is set for Friday night in Brockton - Enterprise News


Enterprise News

A prostate cancer summit is set for Friday night in Brockton
Enterprise News
The Brockton NAACP, Good Samaritan Medical Center and the AdMeTech Foundation are hosting a prostate cancer awareness event on Friday night at VFW Post 1046 at 283 North Quincy St. “It behooves us to provide an opportunity for people to be aware ...

Prostate Cancer: Informed Decisions or Information Overload? - MedPage Today


MLB.com

Prostate Cancer: Informed Decisions or Information Overload?
MedPage Today
Howard Wolinsky a journalist based in the Chicago area, was diagnosed with early prostate cancer in 2010. In an ongoing series of articles for MedPage Today, he describes his journey from diagnosis to the decision to chose active surveillance. In this ...
Baker still celebrating biggest victory over prostate cancerMLB.com
Midlife PSA Levels Predict Lethal Prostate CancerRenal and Urology News
Can 'Smarter' Use Resurrect PSA Testing?Medscape

all 4 news articles »