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When men with prostate cancer need to choose a treatment option, it’s helpful to have information that compares and contrasts the different therapies. Now a first-of-its-kind study has compared two of those treatment choices and found that prostate surgery (prostatectomy) yields better survival than external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).
In particular, the study examined robotic prostate surgery (robot-assisted prostatectomy), a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows surgeons to use finely controlled robotic instruments to safely remove the prostate. External beam radiation therapy, on the other hand, involves delivering radiation to the prostate gland and surrounding tissues on a daily basis for approximately 6 to 7 weeks.
The study was performed by board certified urologic oncologist Dr. David Samadi, Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the developer of SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique). Samadi noted that the study, which involved more than 1,600 men, “is the first side-by-side survival comparison of these two prostate cancer treatment modalities.”
The majority (nearly two-thirds) of the study’s patients underwent robotic surgery for localized prostate cancer. After taking other factors into account, Samadi reported that “researchers saw drastically decreased prostate cancer-specific mortality rates in the men who opted for radical prostatectomy surgery,” with improved survival rates of 40 percent and 65 percent over patients who chose external beam radiation.
Samadi pointed out that while radiation therapy may be an effective choice for some men who are not surgical candidates, “robotic prostatectomy surgery is the most comprehensive prostate cancer treatment.” The findings were presented at the 2012 American Urological Associate annual meeting.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.