Helping Men Evaluate Risk Of Prostate Cancer

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In 2007, more than 218,000 American men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 27,000 men died from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. While it is estimated that one man in six will suffer from prostate cancer in his lifetime, only one man in 34 will die from it. The earlier the disease is diagnosed and treated, the more likely it is for patients to survive and remain disease-free.

A Web site published by Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers in Evergreen Park, Illinois, near Chicago, encourages men to learn more about prostate cancer and to take a free confidential online risk test to evaluate their prostate cancer risk. The Web site's prostate cancer risk test evaluates a man's risk based on certain genetic and lifestyle factors that scientists believe affect one's prostate cancer risk.

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Knowing one's risk can significantly increase a man's chance for surviving prostate cancer. When the disease is still confined to the prostate, the five- year relative survival rate is nearly 100 percent. Men whose cancer is diagnosed early may be candidates for any of the accepted prostate cancer treatments, and typically suffer from fewer side effects. Some of the treatment options available to prostate cancer patients include radiation therapy and surgery.

Little Company of Mary Hospital is one of the only community hospitals in the greater Chicago area to offer the da Vinci robotic prostatectomy. The da Vinci robotic surgical system is a state-of-the-art minimally invasive technology which allows surgeons to perform complex surgeries through tiny openings. The system gives surgeons the benefits of greater visualization and control of the instruments. In addition, nerves and valves are more easily preserved using this technique, which offers the patient improved urinary control and preservation of sexual function without compromising cancer control. Patients also enjoy shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, minimal scarring and earlier returns to full activities.

According to Dr. James Sylora, the urologist at Little Company who championed the da Vinci technology, the ideal candidate for a da Vinci prostatectomy is under the age of 65 with a PSA less than 10 and organ-confined prostate cancer. "Having used all forms of prostate cancer treatments, I feel comfortable saying that the da Vinci prostatectomy is one of the very best," Dr. Sylora adds.

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