Prostate Cancer: Promising New LRP Treatment

January 20, 2007

Thanks to leading edge non-invasive surgical techniques, laparoscopicradical prostatectomy (LRP) is emerging as one of the most effective and safe treatments for prostate cancer.

Thanks to leading edge non-invasive surgical techniques, Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP) is emerging as one of the most effective and safe treatments for prostate cancer.

Though it may receive less media attention than other diseases, prostate cancer ranks at or near the top in cancer cases among men around the world, with western countries experiencing the highest rates. In the US, prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in men, while it ranks fifth among Thai men.


A man’s prostate is a walnut-size gland located just below the bladder that helps produce the fluid for semen. The prostate usually grows larger as a man ages, and so does his prostate cancer risk. In fact, most men will get some form of it eventually, if they live into their 70s and 80s. While prostate cancer can prove fatal, most cases are curable because they are detected before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. While early-stage prostate cancer doesn’t usually show symptoms, dull aches or pain in the lower pelvic region, painful ejaculation, the need to urinate more frequently, bloody urine, and a weak urinary flow are all common symptoms of this disease.

The widespread use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has led to earlier diagnosis and better treatment outcomes. “Early detection increases the chance of completely removing the cancer, and surgery, like LRP, improves the chance of it not returning,” said Dr. Sithiporn Srinuelnut, a board-certified urologist specializing in laparoscopic surgery urology center Bumrungrad International Hospital.

Men aged 50 and older should undergo annual rectal exam and PSA testing. Having a family history of the disease and diets high in fat and alcohol, are also risk factors.


Surgery and radiation therapy are the two most common forms of prostate cancer treatment. Patients who undergo surgery typically have the prostate gland removed (a radical prostatectomy); surrounding lymph nodes may also be removed and checked for possible spread of the cancer. Until recently, a radical prostatectomy required invasive surgery in which a large incision is made through the abdomen. Recovery typically took several weeks, and many patients experienced side-effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction.


Thanks to major advances in technology and training, laparoscopic surgery is revolutionizing prostate cancer treatment, with patients enjoying the benefits of less trauma, faster recovery, fewer side-effects, and better outcomes after surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally-invasive procedure involving the insertion of a lighted viewing instrument, called a laparoscope, and other instruments through tiny incisions in the abdomen. The procedure usually takes from two to four hours. Patients usually spend only one night in the hospital and are able to return to work in about one week.

Laparoscopic surgery was first introduced more than 15 years ago, and as more doctors received the necessary training, its use has grown significantly.


Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP) uses high-resolution cameras that produce crystal-clear magnified images, giving the surgeon a more detailed view as he removes the prostrate. That means less damage to the surrounding nerves that control a man’s ability to have an erection, and less risk of post-surgical problems such as impotence and incontinence. The LRP procedure requires five tiny incisions just below the navel a vast improvement over the much longer incisions made during traditional open surgery. The procedure also causes less bleeding and fluid build-up, lower risk of infection, a reduced need for pain medication, and less time spent usinga urinary catheter. Recovery is much faster after LRP.

“An LRP patient will usually take about a week to recover compared to three weeks for the traditional invasive surgery,” explained Dr. Sithiporn, “That’s a big difference, and LRP patients certainly appreciate the shorter hospital stays and faster return to normal life.”


Most patients requiring prostate removal are candidates for LRP. In most cases, patients with no prior pelvic surgery or radiation treatment are eligible for LRP. All medical procedures, including LRP, involve some level of risk and may not be suitable for some patients. Your doctor will explain the treatment options and recommend the best course of action for your individual situation. Prostate cancer affects millions of men in Thailand and around the world, but thanks to advances such as Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (LRP), treatment has become a less traumatic experience.
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