Cancer patients given chance to use surgical robot which saved their lives

FORMER cancer patients have been given the rare opportunity of using the cutting-edge surgical robot that saved their lives. About 40 people attended a hands-on demonstration of the urology robot at Lister in Stevenage, including those who have been treat

FORMER cancer patients have been given the rare opportunity of using the cutting-edge surgical robot that saved their lives.

About 40 people attended a hands-on demonstration of the urology robot at Lister in Stevenage, including those who have been treated for prostate, bladder and kidney cancer at the hospital.

The machine, called the da Vinci robotic system, allows surgeons to control hi-tech laparoscopic (keyhole) instruments while sitting at a console.

Under the watchful eye of Jim Adshead, consultant urological surgeon, patients used the robot to try to pick up mini elastic bands and place them on small clay cones.


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Explaining the benefits of the robot, which was installed at Lister in December 2008, Mr Adshead said: "It has enabled us to get patients back to normal activity much more quickly, as well as preserving urinary control and sexual function.

"The robotic urological surgery carried out at Lister, which is one of only three such services in eastern England, allows us to perform these operations with far greater precision and safety than has been possible up until now."

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Brian Hattersley, 51, of Baldock Road in Stotfold, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008.

"I met up with Mr Adshead and he suggested a prostatectomy using the robot," he explained.

"I had surgery in September 2009. I was in for around three days and I think the operation itself lasted about two-and-a-half hours.

"I got the all clear in November."

The father-of-two added: "Jim was brilliant. In one breath he's telling me I have cancer but in the same breath he's saying there's a very high chance he can sort it all out for me, which is exactly what you want to hear!

"The robot is amazing. You can only see four holes, whereas before there would have been a big scar.

"It seems we're really on the cusp of some fantastic technology.

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