Robotic surgery for Prostate Cancer – Comment from Chairman of Healthwatch Lancashire, Mike Wedgeworth

“In a week when three celebrities have died of cancer, it is not surprising that many of us worry about what seems the relentless march of the disease.

But treatments are improving all the time.

Removing cancers by robot may sound strange.

But a recent demonstration of the ‘Da Vinci’ robot for prostate cancer surgery at Royal Blackburn Hospital convinced me that it is the way forward.

The surgeon sits at a computer, manipulating the instruments, which can cut out the tumour with a precision impossible with manual surgery, causing less damage to surrounding tissue, speedier recovery, and reducing the need for further treatment.

Healthwatch acts as a voice for patients, and as the Chair of the Lancashire branch, I feel strongly that this procedure should be available throughout the County for those who need it.

Government guidelines say that such surgery should be undertaken at centres capable of dealing with 150 cases a year. There are likely to be at least that number in Lancashire: the technology and the surgeon skills are here, although NHS England policy so far has not allowed the robot treatments to be funded in the County

I am told that this is ‘under review’, but it’s taking a long time and it is surely in the best interests of patients to quickly make the money available for all who could benefit.

Instead of tragedies, we could then read more headlines about successful cancer treatments.”

– Mike Wedgeworth – Interim Chairman


We have a new section on our website where you can read comments from our Chairman, Mike Wedgeworth, and Chief Executive, Gill Brown.

Click here to read their recently added comments.