Robotic Technology Saving Prostate Cancer Patients

   July 15, 2009   

NEW YORK (CBS) — A new high-tech weapon is helping surgeons in the fight against prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men.

Believe it or a not, it’s a robot that’s being used to save lives.

For Michael Puttiarelli, the shock of being diagnosed with prostate cancer was soothed by taking action.

“I immediately started doing my homework and doing a lot of research, talking to a lot of doctors, doing a lot of consultations,” he says.

All that lead him to New York’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center and one of the leading robotic prostate surgeons, Dr. David Samadi, who is the Chief of Robotic Surgery.

“Over the past decade, we’ve gone – we’ve taken our experience of open surgery, we have brought in the laparoscopic skills, and now we use the technology of the robot,” he says.

Dr. Samadi uses the Da Vinci surgical robot for greater visual accuracy. He says it cuts down on side effects like incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

Using the robotic technique, most patients go home the morning after surgery and are back to their regular activities in just a few days. But Dr. Samadi prefers to focus on the bigger picture.

“It’s not the robot that does the surgery, it’s the surgeon behind it,” says Samadi.

Adds Puttiarelli: “Not only does he work on healing the physical problem, but he works on healing the psychological and mental problem.”

He makes sure that patients are familiar with his whole surgical team and they follow the cases from beginning to end.

“It’s almost like having your own baseball team where everyone is in their position, they understand the game, and we’re going to hit the home run every time we go to the operating room,” says Samadi.

And that’s just what Puttiarelli wants to know.

“First I want to wake up. Then I want to find I’ve got good results. And then I want to get on with my life,” he says.

Regardless of the method chosen to treat prostate cancer, outcomes are always best when it’s caught early. If you’re over 50, ask your doctor about having a physical exam to screen for the disease and if a blood test is right for you.

Having a healthy prostate is crucial to male fertility. So be sure to talk to your doctor about prostate health during your yearly physical exam.

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