MIAMI - About 230,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer ever year making it the most common cancer among men in this country.
While surgery to remove the prostate is still considered the key to curing this disease, many men fear the procedure will lead to erectile dysfunction. However, a South Florida doctor has discovered a unique approach to protecting the prostate and preserving sexual function.
"My time may be up," said Bill Sergio, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
That sobering thought went through Sergio's head when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April.
"It changes your perception of everything because you know you got to stop what you're doing and start doing some research," Sergio said.
His research led him to Dr. Sanjay Razdan, director of the Urology Center at Jackson South Community Hospital.
Dr. Razdan has been researching ways to preserve erectile function following robotic prostate surgery.
"When it comes to erectile function we do a great job in nerve preservation. But no matter what you do it's only about 90 percent of patients who have excellent erections prior to surgery are able to maintain the same level of erections," Dr. Razdon said.
In the search for a way to help the remaining 10 percent, Dr. Razdan began to experiment with amniotic stem cells.
"It has been used in medicine for many years for burns, neurosurgery, and spine surgery but no one ever thought of using it in urology and for something that is so important to me," said Dr. Razdon.
After some trial and error, Dr. Razdan found success with a sheet of amniotic stem cells that serves to protect and regenerate sensitive nerves.
"It's freeze dried and the moment we placed it over the neurovascual bundle it just kind of wrapped around it so nicely it just stuck around there, and I said 'bingo' that's the way to go," Dr. Razdon said.
Sergio was grateful for Dr. Razdan's technique and expertise, but says no matter what, preserving his sexual function came second to saving his life.
"For me getting the prostate out, because if I didn't get it out I would die in a year or so. So there was no alternative," Sergio said.
Dr. Razdan says the next step is to develop a double blind study to verify the benefits of using the amniotic stem cell sheet in prostate surgery.
The use of the amniotic sheet can also help reduce the risk of post surgical incontinence.
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