Monthly Archives: August 2014

Preventing Prostate Cancer with the Basics – Vitamin E Not the Answer

There’s no magic bullet when it comes to preventing prostate cancer. This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association shares news that taking large doses of Vitamin E supplements on a regular basis may actually cause prostate cancer, not prevent it as once believed. The findings come out of a study that began ten years ago and included 35,000 men aged 58-68. The data clearly indicated a 17% increase in prostate cancer among those taking 400 IU/day of vitamin E over a five-year period. In 2008, seven years into the study, they released data stating that vitamin E did not prove to prevent prostate cancer. Today’s news that it may actually cause it is staggering to many. In truth, it is difficult to say from just one study whether or not prostate cancer is caused by an increased consumption of vitamin E. The more important lesson is that vitamin supplements are not the quick answer to our medical woes. Preventing prostate cancer should really be about getting back to the basics. If you’re a relatively healthy man who exercises regularly, plays some sports, stays active around the house, is […]

Prostate Cancer: Don’t Eat That

Each day we wake to new evidence of foods that cause prostate cancer. Men have long been cautioned to focus on healthy eating and exercise, making it even more confusing that regulars on the food pyramid are now under fire for contributing to the development of prostate cancer. Dr. David Samadi, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, wants to help men qualify the role of specific foods in prostate cancer and fill in the blanks in the rest of prostate cancer story – annual PSA screening and early prostate cancer treatment. Prostate Cancer Prevention – meat, eggs and other “bad guys” Recent studies take aim at many foods that are already staples in a man’s diet. One shows consumption of red meat five times per week can more than double your risk of prostate cancer. Another says don’t eat more than two eggs per week or you’re 81% more likely to develop metastatic, or deadly, prostate cancer. Even milk is under scrutiny, as one report suggests African American men who have a calcium-rich diet may be at […]

Contradictory Findings and Using Caution When Researching Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

I like when the medical community shares the positive findings of new studies on robotic radical prostatectomy procedures. I like knowing that prostate cancer patients, mine and those just beginning to explore treatment options, can read about the many current successes of robotic prostate surgery. I like when the medical community is united in helping prostate cancer patients gain access to the best treatments available. But what I find most difficult for those exploring prostate cancer treatment options is the widely varying reports often published. Facing a prostate cancer diagnosis is extremely difficult and research is a must. I urge all prostate cancer patients to spend time with their physicians discussing all options, and to gather as much information from as many sources as possible. But what you read and learn must be as carefully considered as the treatment decision itself. The volume of data can be overwhelming and making sense of wildly differing results can be daunting. For example, prostate cancer surgeons at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York recently studied the outcomes of 110,016 prostatectomy patients, finding significant surgical benefits in those who underwent laparoscopic or robotic […]

Robotic Prostatectomy Surgery and Robotic Radiosurgery – What’s the Difference?

There’s a lot of buzz about robotics in all areas of medicine. Couple that with new advances and the ever changing world of branded medical tools and procedures and there’s bound to be confusion about what’s what. As we continue to read more about Prostate Cancer Awareness month, I want to offer some clarity on two similarly named, though vastly different, prostate cancer treatment options – robotic prostatectomy surgery and robotic radiosurgery. First, robotic radical prostatectomy involves the use of surgeon-guided micro-surgical instruments and high-resolution cameras to aid in the non-invasive removal of the cancerous prostate. I believe this technique gives me, and my patients, the best of both worlds. I can draw on my vast traditional and laparoscopic surgical experience and marry it with the technological advantages of the robot – enhanced vision, precise dexterity and full mobility – to remove the prostate with as little trauma to the patient as possible. In doing so, my patients achieve a 97% cure rate.   What’s more, I have the benefit of getting in there and really seeing what’s going on with the cancer. Unfortunately, pre-surgery cancer staging tests don’t really […]

Calling All Women: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

My favorite month is here so you know what that means: prostate cancer talk all month long. It’s a time to listen up and study up on all there is to know about preventing, detecting and treating prostate cancer. This month, my message goes out to women. I say this because you know as well as I do that women have the power to make us act. They read all the latest news and blogs, they talk to their friends and their doctors, and they prod us along.  My message is simple: women, do whatever it takes to get your husband, boyfriend, father and/or brother to the doctor this month. And while you’re at it, here’s a “honey-do” list ready for you to hand over. This list highlights the prostate cancer basics we all should know: Learn your prostate cancer risk,Improve your lifestyle, Screen annually and Treat aggressively, if necessary. LEARN Your Risk: Genetics – men with a father or brother with prostate cancer are 2x as likely to develop the disease; having 3 or more relatives with prostate cancer makes a diagnosis almost certain Race – African American men have a 60% increased risk […]

Kegels and Post-Prostatectomy Care

The National Institute of Health Research recently weighed the benefits of using Kegels, pelvic floor toning exercises, in one-on-one physical therapy sessions. Their findings indicate that there is no substantial benefit to the individualized training, nor is it cost-effective. It’s interesting to me that the study seems to be less about the effectiveness of pelvic floor toning exercises, and more about the time (and therefore expense) of one-on-one care after prostate cancer surgery. First, I’d like to remind patients that the level of sexual and urinary function issues they may face post-radical prostatectomy are directly linked to the skill level of the surgeon they select. While da Vinci System technology does provide tremendous benefits in visual magnification and dissection precision during surgery, it’s no replacement for time and experience. My SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) method links technology and skill, truly resulting in smart surgery. My patients are experiencing exceptional results with regard to sexual and urinary function. Ninety-six percent regain urinary continence and 87 percent regain sexual function in 12-24 months following surgery. Second, there are instances when men need some additional support following surgery, whether to deal […]

New Study About Men Leaking Urine During Sex

NYU prostate specialist, Dr. Herbert Lepor just published questionnaire findings in the Journal of Urology about the incidence of post-prostatectomy men leaking urine during sex or climax. This side effect of prostate removal is coined “climacturia.” While this may not be a topic you’re too anxious to discuss, I want to help clarify the findings and share my feelings about the results. The survey found this: 1 in 8 men are experiencing urinary incontinence during sex and 36% of those polled said the problem persisted two years after surgery. This issue is completely separate from sexual potency, and in some cases isn’t even linked to normal daytime urinary incontinence. The questionnaire was given only to patients of Dr. Lepor’s. It included just over 1,400 men and encompassed those who underwent radical prostatectomy surgery at NYU between 2000 and 2007. The most critical part of the study I want you to keep in mind is the fact that all men had traditional open prostatectomy surgery. What this means is that no laparoscopic or robotic tools were used during the procedures. In my experience, traditional open prostatectomy surgery has significant limitations. For the patient […]

Personalized Care for Israeli Prostate Cancer Patients

I’ve traveled to Israel several times to demonstrate robotic prostate cancer treatment to urologists who are relatively new to robotic surgery. My goal in Israel, and in other countries, is to help specialists continually improve the quality of healthcare they provide their patients, particularly in the area of prostate cancer treatment. While in Israel I successfully performed robotic surgeries using my SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotoc Technique) method of prostate cancer treatment, all televised live to extend the reach of the training. However, we know from experience that the learning curve for robotic surgery is very steep. Studies show that experienced surgeons require over 1,600 robotic-assisted surgeries before they achieve acceptableoutcomes. With significantly smaller caseloads, Israeli surgeons are simply not yet able to offer the level of expertise that U.S. specialists can. In time, their experience, and therefore expertise, should greatly improve. But what of the Israeli men who are facing prostate cancer today? They certainly don’t have the time for their country’s knowledge to catch up. They are fighting for their lives and deserve the highest quality medical care available today, regardless of location. As a result, inbound medical tourism is becoming increasingly popular […]

Live Robotic Prostatectomy with NYLF/MED

Just days ago I had the pleasure of welcoming 130 academically outstanding high school students to witness one of my live robotic prostatectomy procedures at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. I was invited to become a part of National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine’s (NYLF/MED) inaugural year in New York. The program gathers exceptional high school students in the greater tri-state area who are chosen based on their outstanding academic records in math and science and teacher recommendations. The forum has an 18-year history in cities throughout the country, and it was a great honor for me to be a part of bringing it to students in our area. Students participating in the program stay in New York for 10 days, experiencing a wide range of healthcare seminars, medical experiences and even social events. The program works with medical professionals in the area to arrange site visits so the students can experience clinical settings first hand. The morning of the surgery, 130 of the program’s students chose to join me at Mount Sinai Medical Center to watch the 7:00 am surgery live on closed circuit TV. Just after, I spent time with the students […]

The Fight Against Prostate Cancer At Home And Abroad

Earlier this year I talked about Kenyan Medical Services Minister, Anyang’ Nyong’o, traveling to the U.S. for life-saving, prostate cancer treatment. Following a diagnosis in his country which, it’s important to note, came only after his own persistence that something was not right, Nyong’o knew his best chance for survival was to head here. Recognizing his own country’s limitations, Nyong’o did what many in other countries are now doing, he chose a prostate cancer specialist in the United States with expertise that far surpassed his country’s offerings. Since his return to Kenya, Nyong’o is turning his experience into a force for change. He founded the African Cancer Foundation, with the intentions of increasing the distribution of cancer information, emphasizing early screening and updating treatment options in Kenya. Reform in these areas will not be easy for Nyong’o and his group; Kenyans place a large stigma on cancer patients and, in some areas, still prefer natural healing methods. As a result, conquering late diagnosis of prostate and other cancers will be a big part of the foundation’s efforts, but it’s a fight worth fighting. In developing countries like Kenya, more deaths are caused by […]