Prostate surgery that won't harm your sex life: a new technique can save men from the brutal side effect of impotence
- Every year, approximately 47,000 British men are diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Some patients refuse surgery due to potential negative side effects.
- Scientists hope the new methodology will be available on the NHS within five years
Prostate cancer victims can be relieved of the brutal side effect of impotence thanks to innovative surgical techniques.
In men with aggressive forms of the disease, the gland is usually removed, but surgery can damage nerves that are vital for sexual function.
A new technique that limits this damage has been developed by British scientists who hope it will be available on the NHS for five years. They say the results of a three-year study involving 400 patients were very promising.
Each year, about 47,000 British men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 11,000 die from the disease. Some patients, especially young men, refuse surgery because of potential side effects, and then incurable cancer begins to develop.
Prostate cancer victims can be protected from the brutal side effect of impotence thanks to innovative surgical technique (image)
The Daily Mail campaigns for better treatment and faster diagnosis because both are lagging behind other diseases, such as breast cancer.
About 6,000 men suffer from prostatectomy each year, and the vast majority suffer from impotence and incontinence. Greg Shaw, a research lead at University College London, said: “Almost all men who have had prostate surgery suffer nerve damage. This harms their sex life and means that they cannot have a full erection. This new technique should allow men who have had prostate surgery to remain sexually active. ”
The Daily Mail campaigns for better treatment and faster diagnosis because both years lag behind other diseases like breast cancer
While the patient is under anesthesia on the operating table, the removed prostate is analyzed under a microscope by a pathologist. If no cancer is found in the area adjacent to the nerves, “everything is clear” is issued, and the operation ends.
If cancer is detected, the surgeon removes the nerves to ensure removal of all cancer cells. In contrast, according to existing procedures, doctors cannot know for sure whether the nerve cells have cancer, and are more likely to remove them to be on the safe side.
Mr. Shaw said: “The tendency is not to spare the nerves if it is believed that there is a risk of leaving the cancer behind. We know that nerve-saving work. The more nervous tissue remains, the more chances a man has to be strong after surgery.
“If we can’t leave our nerves at all, they’re extremely unlikely, even with Viagra.”
Mr. Shaw began the test after he saw that two young people developed incurable cancer after deciding on an operation.
In men with aggressive forms of the disease, the gland is usually removed, but surgery can damage nerves vital to sexual function (image)
The urologist consultant said: “They decided not to have surgery because they were afraid of side effects. But the cancer has spread, which means that it is no longer curable. They will die from this cancer.
The procedure is offered in London, Bristol, Sheffield and Glasgow. The test will verify that it is clinically effective and suitable for the NHS. This technique was first tested anywhere in the world.
Dr. David Montgomery, UK Research Director for Prostate Cancer, said: “For too many men with potentially treatable prostate cancer, treating them either does not eliminate the cancer or causes side effects such as erectile dysfunction.
Like Such studies are potential benefits, as they are aimed at increasing the number of men undergoing treatment, while at the same time reducing the number of people who need further treatment or suffer from decreased sexual function.
‘We in the UK on prostate cancer believe that research on treatments that cure more and harm less is crucial.
“That's why we will continue to fund this type of research now and in the future.”