WORCESTER, Mass. - A new technique is helping doctors at UMass Memorial Medical Center treat men with prostate cancer and improve their quality of life.

UMass began performing the robotic Retzius-sparing prostatectomy within the last three months, but urology specialist Dr. Igor Sorokin says the technology has been around for a few years and first became popular in Europe.

Dr. Sorokin says prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, and about 1 in 8 men will be affected in their lifetime.

This technique approaches the prostate from below the bladder, rather than from above.

Dr. Sorokin says they’ve seen dramatic improvement with how patients are able to control their bodily functions afterward. 

 "We've seen with this technique there is a drastic improvement in the continence rates, especially when you initially remove their catheters,” Dr. Sorokin said. “We could see 70 to 90 percent of men after having their catheter removed, after surgery, being immediately continent. So it's been sort of remarkable to see that."

Dr. Sorokin says by the 12-month mark the continence outcomes are about the same with both this technique and the process the hospital previously used. 

However, men who need radiation need their continence to improve before undergoing the treatment, and the Retzius-sparing technique may help get them treatment sooner.