Treating Prostate Cancer

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Blue Ridge Urological Associates offers unparalleled expertise and experience in the treatment of prostate cancer. Our team of urologists have performed well over 10,000 prostatectomies over the last few decades. When one of our patients living in the Staunton area is diagnosed with prostate cancer, he can rest easy knowing that he is in the hands of some of the best specialists in the country.

Patients are diagnosed with prostate cancer only after they have had a prostate biopsy which tests positive for the presence of cancerous tissue. The pathologist will determine the maturity, or stage, of the cancer. Further testing may be necessary to screen for the presence of cancer cells in other areas of the body.

When determining a treatment plan, the urologist will consider all aspects of the patient’s health to include age, lifestyle and other pre-existing health conditions. These factors directly influence a patient’s life expectancy. Patients with a life expectancy of 15 or more years are ideal candidates for prostatectomy, or the surgical removal of the prostate. Patients with advanced aging who have less than a 10 year life expectancy respond better to radiation therapy and other alternatives to surgery.

Types of Prostatectomy

While the goal of the procedure is the same, regardless of route, different techniques for removing the prostate have been developed over time. The specialists at Blue Ridge Urological Associates are well versed in all of these techniques and treat every patient as a unique case, identifying which method will give the best outcome.

Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy (RRP): According to Dr. Graham, “this is a traditional approach to surgery with an anterior incision that ranges from just below the belly button to the pubic bone.” Common complications with this method include bleeding, prolonged recovery time, post-operative urinary incontinence and impotence.

Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (RALRP): This state-of-the-art technology has improved outcomes for millions of patients across the country. Using a robotic arm that is controlled by the surgeon and a digital interface, the urologist has the ability to make precise incisions and avoid any unnecessary trauma that is inevitable with older techniques. RALRP is clinically proven to minimize bleeding, cut recovery time nearly in half, and greatly reduces the risk of urinary incontinence and impotence post-operatively.

Radical Perineal Prostatectomy (RPP): Much like RRP, this technique involves a traditional incision, though the route taken is different. The surgeon will make an incision into the perineal tissue that sits in the space between the scrotum and anus. This technique yields smaller amounts of blood loss and quicker recovery times than RRP, though it is unclear if there is any difference in incontinence and erectile function postoperatively.

Other Treatment Options

Radiation and chemotherapy options are constantly evolving. Depending on the patient’s overall health and concern for side effects, the oncologist will decide which specific therapy will be most beneficial including possible brachytherapy (“seed implant radiation”) or forms of external beam radiation therapy (such as IMRT).

Hormone Ablation Therapy is yielding great results for many patients with metastasized cancer. Patients receive regular injections once a month to once every three months to help suppress the body’s natural production of testosterone. This can provide significant reduction in PSA levels, as well as ease the patient’s daily symptoms.

Cryotherapy is also a new surgical technology that Blue Ridge Urological Associates offers. Cryotherapy is the process of freezing and thawing the prostate to kill off cancerous cells as a primary option or if cancer persists after radiation treatment. However, Dr. Graham notes, “while cryotherapy is effective at killing existing cancer, it is not an option for preventing the onset of prostate cancer.”

If you have prostate cancer the experts at Blue Ridge Urological Associates will ensure you receive the best care possible.

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