Prostate cancer patients will be the first on Teesside to benefit from leading-edge robotic surgery when a team of urologists at The James Cook University Hospital will, for the first time, use a da Vinci robot to treat prostate cancer.
It is hoped that the hi-tech procedure will dramatically improve outcomes and cure rates for men with the disease, while reducing the side effects and complications of surgery and the length of time patients have to stay in hospital.
The robot has revolutionised surgical treatment for prostate cancer by making it possible for surgeons to perform minimally-invasive surgery with greater precision and control than ever before.
It uses tiny instruments, controlled remotely by the surgeon sitting at a console. The surgeon has the benefits of 3D vision and hand and foot controls to control the micromanipulators, which have a greater range of movement than the human hand.
Consultant urologist David Chadwick said: “Robotic surgery allows surgeons to have improved vision and a greater level of precision than the use of conventional surgical techniques. This has significant benefits for the patient.
“It’s a significant development for the trust and, over time, will be used not only to treat patients with prostate cancer but also bladder cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal and gynaecological disease, head and neck disease and thoracic surgery.”
It is estimated that between 300 and 400 patients a year, including 100 men with prostate cancer, will benefit from robotic surgery, which has been made possible through the generosity of the local population donating to South Tees Hospitals Charity.
Mr Chadwick added: “Our aim is to improve the diagnosis and management of early prostate cancer and other cancers in the region by using the best available techniques and equipment.
“We need to keep up with developing technologies in order to make sure we continue to deliver the very best care for our patients, who had been going to other hospitals for their treatment.
“This complements our specialist cancer centre portfolio as we can now offer state-of-the-art surgical oncological treatment as well as state-of-the-art radiotherapy and that’s thanks to everyone who has contributed to the trust’s charitable funds.”
The trust is also grateful for the support of local clinical commissioning groups in taking forward robotic surgery.
Whitby GP, Dr George Campbell, vice chair of Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are very pleased to support the trust, which is very good news for local people. National NICE recommendations state that commissioners should consider robot surgery for patients with prostate cancer who are having a total prostatectomy for their treatment. The robot gives fewer side effects and better clearance of the cancer.
“The service that has been in place is well regarded but the robot means local patients will have access to the most up-to-date technology and improved surgical treatment without the need to travel further afield.”