The operation to remove the prostate as a treatment for cancer was first performed in 1904, at the Johns Hopkins Hospital by a urologist named Hugh Hampton Young. Young’s procedure, called a radical perineal prostatectomy, was a success: Six and a half years later, when the patient died of other causes, an autopsy showed that his prostate cancer had been cured.

In the late 1940s, another approach, called the radical retropubic prostatectomy, was developed, and like Young’s operation (which still is used today, although not as often as the retropubic approach), it proved extremely effective in stopping prostate cancer in its tracks—if, that is, the cancer was confined to the prostate.

Both the radical perineal and retropubic operations had a definite down side—in the form of two devastating side effects, incontinence and impotence. Worse, radical retropubic prostatectomy also became known among urologists for the extreme bleeding that went along with it. Every surgeon who performed it would probably admit that this operation used to be performed in a sea of blood.

So, understandably, when radiation treatment for prostate cancer was introduced and popularized (see Chapter 6), doctors as well as patients welcomed this alternative therapy. (In men who receive radiation treatment, an average of 60 percent remain potent, and incontinence is not a problem.)


Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Posts: