Medical Minute 3-28: Two New Ways to Tackle Prostate Cancer

By: Vanessa Welch
By: Vanessa Welch

Live ballet is art at its finest. Alastair Macaulay knows. He's the chief dance critic for the New York Times. It was his life until a prostate cancer diagnosis.

"Immediate reaction is your heart drops a mile. Somehow, you're not ready for that, despite all the warning signs along the way," said Alastair Macaulay, Chief Dance Critic at the New York Times.

But instead of removing Alastair's prostate by robotic surgery, now doctors combine it with a CO2 laser. The accurate, low-heat laser frees and preserves nerves around the prostate. The result: Reduced risk for incontinence and sexual side effects. So far, results show 75% of men recovered sexual function in six months as opposed to one year with the old method.

"If you can have less traction on the nerves, less traction damage, then you would think that patients would recover the potency side of things much quicker," said Ketan Badani, M.D., Dir. of Robotic Surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Doctor Mitchell Anscher's new clinical trial uses image-guided radiation therapy to hit the prostate with higher-than-normal doses of radiation. By just targeting cancer tissue -- and protecting other organs -- you may kill more cancer cells in less time.

"Get a higher dose into the prostate, get a lower dose into the sensitive tissues around the prostate, like the bladder and the rectum," said Mitchell Anscher, M.D. Professor of Radiation Oncology at VCU Massey Cancer Center.

Alastair's surgery has allowed this critic to dish opinions on cancer matters, too.

"Talk to as many different people who have been through this as possible. It just helped. You just thought that you were not alone."

High-intensity radiation … high-tech surgical lasers. Both are certainly headline news.

For more information on other series produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500,

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