Robots ripping out prostates

There’s been a lot of prostate cancer news lately. I’ve got a pile of it to blog about. I won’t get to much of it until next week, but this one just can’t wait. I don’t know about you, but my prostate is practically screaming to learn about it.

Robotic-assisted surgery may be to blame for the rapid rise in prostatectomies.*

Adoption of robotic technology fueled rapid growth in the use of prostatectomy at a time when the incidence of prostate cancer decreased. […]

The annual prostatectomy volume in the United States increased by almost 50% from 2005 to 2008, after remaining stable during 1997 to 2004. The dramatic uptick in prostatectomy volume coincided with rapid adoption of robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP), which accounted for 15% of all prostatectomies in 2004 but more than 80% in 2008.

The growth in prostatectomy volume, particularly RALP, contrasted with a decline in prostate cancer incidence of 2.2 cases per 100,000 men from 1997 to 2008 (P=0.009). […]

“More people are being treated with supposed definitive therapy. Why is that, in an era when the incidence is going down and there is no reason to believe that the disease is a lot more dangerous than it used to be? It raises issues about utilization.”

Um, yeah, I’d say that raises a few issues. More on prostate cancer and its treatment here.

* The work reported has not been peer reviewed.

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