Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among males in Australia, and as men grow older, it becomes an increasingly relevant health concern.
According to Cancer Australia, Australia has over 94,000 men living with prostate cancer, and it estimates that it will represent a staggering 24% of new cancer diagnoses affecting males in 2018, with an estimated 3,500 deaths from the disease. They also note that the rate of new cases has dropped quite significantly since 2008, from 180 per 100,000 to 130, while 5-year survival rates have also greatly improved, from 58% in 1984-1988 to 95% in 2009-2013.
While the cause of the decrease in incidences of prostate cancer is up for debate, it is undeniable that one of the driving factors in this dramatic improvement of the five-year outlook has been developments in surgical techniques. The most significant of these has been the increasing popularity of robotic prostate cancer surgery. While to the uninitiated, such procedures may sound highly unusual, as most robotic surgery techniques are but a few decades old, nowadays they are anything but. In fact, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre notes that robotic prostate cancer surgery is "now the most popular surgical approach for men with localised prostate cancer in much of the Western world, including Australia." Clearly, many patients are choosing such procedures and many doctors are recommending them. Therefore, any patient considering prostate cancer surgery should seriously consider the robotic option.
The simplest reason why a prostate cancer patient should consider robotic surgery is that recent studies have shown it to be superior to more standard surgeries. For example, the Australian Financial Review, citing a study funded by Cancer Council Queensland, states that only are robotic surgery outcomes equal to standard surgery at six, 12, and 24 months, but also that robotic surgery comes with further benefits not offered by its more traditional competitor. These benefits include a less invasive surgical procedure and a faster short-term recovery period. Additionally, robotic surgery patients are left with 200% less prostate cancer in the blood than patients of traditional open surgery.
Clearly, robotic surgery is an excellent option for prostate cancer patients. The procedure is, additionally, quite accessible, with robotic prostate cancer surgery being available for free in the public healthcare system in most states, including Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. However, patients who wish to utilise the private system may want to weigh the benefits, as the ABC notes that robotic surgery can cost upwards of $5,000 more than the traditional option. Still, as one's health is priceless, the proven benefits of robotic prostate cancer surgery are well worth the extra cost.