It's the shock of a lifetime. A single doctor's appointment confirms what you've dreaded, what you've feared, what you've suspected. You have cancer. If you're a man, the most common form of cancer is prostate. The American Cancer Society estimates over 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer in 2007, and over 27,000 deaths due to the disease.
The good news is that both detection and survival rates continue to improve.
There are, however, some side effects that are troubling for men. Of particular concern following surgery, known as a prostatectomy, is urinary incontinence. It's truly adding insult to injury - not only must men deal with the impact of cancer, they must navigate a heretofore unknown world of specialty undergarments. This "inconvenient truth" often plays a key role in men's decisions about which form of prostate treatment to pursue.
But, there is hope. Surgeons at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center have mounted their medical white horses once again. They have devised a new surgical method - actually, a fairly simple revision of the existing method - that has shown tremendous success in avoiding incontinence.
The surgical procedure involves the manipulation of existing tissue to support muscles that control retention of urine within the bladder. The additional steps add only 2 to 5 minutes to the operation. It's time well spent...
In early trials 29% of men were fully continent one week after having the urinary catheter removed. By six weeks the figure rose to 62% and, at 16 weeks, the figure stood at an impressive 95%. The surgeons hope the procedure will become part of the routine surgical procedure.
With the competitive nature of health care, look for hospitals to scramble to be the first within their region to offer the new procedure. One can envision television commercials encouraging men to take advantage of the new "Leak Free Guarantee."To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To read more about prostate cancer, including diagnosis and treatment, see this from the American Cancer Society.