Will cancer cells spill into my body when the surgeon is in there cutting away? This was one of my main questions, when I was considering how to treat my prostate cancer. Which therapy should I go with? If I choose surgery, won’t that make things worse (in the long run) by cutting up the prostate gland in my body and spilling the cancer cells all over the place? Over time, won’t that allow the cancer to come back (biochemical recurrence) ?
Well you should ask your doctor about this, because I did. And I got a very good answer (for me and my specific case).
There are things in this world called “specimen retrieval bags.” Medical equipment companies make them. They’re surgical pouch-like items with a cinching tie or cord on top that seal them up.
In my case, I had da Vinci robotic surgery, but I think these retrieval bags would be available for other cancer surgeries as well – but you should always ask your doctor.
What my doctor told me is that when he frees up the cancerous prostate gland inside the body, he takes great care to place it – whole – in one of these so-called specimen retrieval bags, ties it up tightly at the top and then removes it from the body through a small incision in the belly button area. In my case, he used an EndoCatch brand bag made by Medtronic, Inc. (How do I know that? I read my surgical report).
I continue to test my PSA after prostate surgery and, so far, have received all zeroes, which appears very favorable going forward and that this process worked well for me and my case.
I think this is a common question, and I was relieved to learn that my doctor had a very good answer which satisfied me.