[MOL] Prostate cancer... [01323] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Prostate cancer...

Perfecting Prostate Surgery
Television News Service/Medical Breakthroughs
Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc. October 2000

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(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States, with more than 175,000 new cases diagnosed each year. A prostatectomy, the most effective treatment option, often comes with severe side effects. One doctor is using a simple method to perfect his surgery.

For 30 years Harold Davidov helped the sick from behind the pharmacy counter. Six years ago, the tables were turned when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Harold explains, "At 54 years old, I, in conjunction with my wife, decided we were going to have the prostate removed."

Urologist Patrick Walsh, M.D., also helped Harold make the decision to have a prostatectomy.

Dr. Walsh, of the Brady Urological Institute in Baltimore, Md., explains, "The best way to cure cancers that are confined to the prostate is total removal of the prostate."

During a prostatectomy, nerves are often cut leading to side effects like impotence and incontinence. Dr. Walsh set out to reduce the number of complications. He learned to improve his surgical skills by videotaping his operations.

Dr. Walsh says, "When you are operating, you are looking at the tips of your fingers. When you're watching yourself operating, you see the entire surgical field. I could just see places where I never expected the nerves to be."

Nationally, 18 months after surgery, incontinence is a problem in 8.4 percent of men compared to 2 percent of Dr. Walsh's patients. Impotence is a problem in 59.9 percent of men compared to only 14 percent of Dr. Walsh's patients.

Harold and his wife are thankful the surgery was successful. "I'm just pressing ahead. I'm not looking over my shoulder," says Harold.

In addition to being aware of his doctor's experience, it's also important that a man question how many procedures he has performed. Studies show more experienced surgeons have lower complication rates.

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