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David Samadi, MD, world-renowned
SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) robotic prostate removal surgeon, works closely with each patient following diagnosis. Helping patients decide how to handle their prostate cancer, he believes, is a balance of medical research and personal wellbeing. "Active surveillance is a difficult recommendation to make to an otherwise healthy man," says Dr. Samadi. "With robotic prostatectomy surgery I have the means to help them overcome prostate cancer. If I tell them to wait, they go home worried and potentially at risk."
Prostate Cancer: Spread Without SymptomsA new prostate cancer study from the University of
Gothenburg, Sweden, published this September in the journal European Urology, found that 63 percent of men could go six years beyond diagnosis before needing treatment. "Could doesn't necessarily mean should," said Dr. Samadi who educates patients about the limits of prostate cancer diagnostics in predicting disease progression.
"So much is made of men living symptom-free with prostate cancer," says Dr. Samadi. "But that's a problem, not a benefit. Without symptoms it's easy for men to assume everything is fine, they may skip an appointment or two. But prostate cancer is a master of stealth growth and waiting can be dangerous."
Watchful Waiting or Watchful Worry?
Interestingly, almost 40 percent of participants in the Swedish study opted for treatment rather than surveillance, either because their tumor showed signs of growth or they chose not to live with the constant worry. "Beyond the science, there's a strong emotional consideration," added Dr. Samadi. "If you're diagnosed with prostate cancer at 65, do you want to spend the next 20+ years in watchful worry?"