PRESS RELEASE BLUE FRIDAY, September 2, 2011
Robots Future of Prostate Cancer Treatment
Urology specialist Dr Robin Smart says robotic surgery is the future of prostate cancer treatment both here and
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.