Recently the 2012 Republication candidate for President, Mitt Romney, announced he had surgery last summer to treat prostate cancer. Dr. Thomas Ahrling operated on Romney at University of California Irvine Hospital, and Romney’s prognosis is now good. Political experts expect to run for United States senator of the state of Utah when Senator Orrin Hatch retires. He joins John Kerry and Colin Powell as famous politicians who have had surgery for it and are still alive, well and active. Dr. David Samadi wrote about Romney’s case in The Huffington Post to pass on his advice regarding their treatment options.
Prostate cancer is common in older men. It’s rare in men under 40. 60% of cases are found in men over 65, with 66 the average age of diagnosis. The American Cancer Society predicts 164,690 will learn of their diagnosis in 2018. According to Dr. David Samadi, surgery should be the man’s first choice for treatment, especially if the cancer has not metastasized, meaning it has not spread to other parts of the body, so it remains localized in the prostate.
The other treatment is radiation therapy. In that case, the radiologist exposes the cancer to radiation. However, although the radiation is highly targeted, surrounding parts of the man’s body are still exposed. This raises the risk the man later suffers secondary cancers, especially of the rectum and bladder.
Dr. David Samadi has seen the medical studies on the results of both treatments. Almost all men who have the surgery and the cancer has not spread, survive. Men who get treated by radiation are two times as likely to die from the disease as men who get treated with surgery. And they are one-and-a-half times as likely to pass away earlier than the patients who chose surgery over radiation first.
Dr. Samadi has lots of information on prostates, prostate cancer and urology on his website. He has a video of himself as a guest on a Fox News Housecall, discussing these same issues. On the show, he says surgery is the first line of treatment for any cancer. That’s partly because it allows the doctor to more accurately stage the cancer, or to know just how big the tumor is and whether or not it has spread. On that show, he also mentions CyberKnife, explaining that although it sounds like surgery, it is another form of radiation, not surgery. According to the doctor, radiation should be the backup plan for treating cancer if surgery cannot complete the job.
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