‘Robotic surgery for prostate cancer no better than traditional surgery’

In recent years there’s been a huge increase in investment in robotic surgery to treat localised prostate cancer. However a landmark study published in the Lancet has shown that robotic surgery is no more effective than traditional surgery.

Spending on robotic surgery for prostate cancer treatment has reached epic proportions, both from health care systems and patients in many countries. Despite its unprecedented growth the technology has been adopted without any high-level evidence supporting its use. A randomized study in the Lancet has shown that robotic surgery is no better than traditional surgery, at least in the first 3 months, and provides no better cancer control or reduced side effects.

Whilst surgeons flock to learn the treatment and guide patients down the path to receiving it, the inevitable consequence is that proven treatments like low-dose seed brachytherapy (LDR brachytherapy or seed brachytherapy), with lower costs, better outcomes and fewer side effects, are being overlooked. At the same time valuable knowledge and experience of better treatment options is being lost.

If healthcare systems are to avoid being swamped by new technology with little benefit and no proven track-record, with higher costs to patients and tax payers, a significant re-think is required to ensure prostate cancer patients see doctors from several disciplines and experienced nurse specialists. This will ensure patients have all the available evidence so they are able to make a properly informed decision as to the right treatment option for them.

Read the Lancet study into Robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy versus open radical retropubic prostatectomy

Find out more about LDR brachytherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer.

Find out more about the side effects of LDR brachytherapy