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Robots Future of Prostate Cancer Treatment


Robots Future of Prostate Cancer Treatment

Urology specialist Dr Robin Smart says robotic surgery is the future of prostate cancer treatment both here and overseas.

Today is Blue Friday, the day New Zealanders are encouraged to ‘get blue’ for prostate cancer awareness. Just four weeks ago, Auckland based urologist Dr. Smart joined top specialists from around the world to attend the Australasian Prostate Cancer Conference in Melbourne. The specialists were shown a 3D video presentation of a radical prostatectomy by robot.

“It was impressive,” says Dr Smart Currently, New Zealand has just 3 “Da Vinci” robots, located in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch with 5 surgeons who can operate them. The robot has the advantage of fine procedural work, operating around fragile tissue and nerves that can mean the difference between a patient’s full recovery after radical prostatectomy, and impotence or incontinence.

Other outtakes from the conference according to Dr Smart included that the PSA debate was “over”. Among urologists at least he says, “Everyone is testing their patients using the PSA blood test.” The reliability of the diagnostic method that uses PSA levels to measure the presence of prostate cancer has been a point of contention among medical and governmental bodies. “Really the battle is for the hearts and minds of GP’s,” he says.

Also highlighted at the conference were the high mortality rates of Maori and Pacific Island men in New Zealand. “The Maori results are appalling. I think they have the highest prostate cancer death rates in the OECD. “Dr Smart says the high death toll is due to late presentation by Maori and Pacific Island men to their GPs.


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