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Florida Prostate Cancer Specialist Challenges Robotic Surgical System as a Boondoggle for Healthcare

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla., Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A prominent Florida prostate cancer specialist is leading a groundswell of physicians and prostate cancer patients challenging the efficacy of a popular robotic surgical treatment marketed and promoted into near ubiquitous use in hospitals across the nation.

In an extensive article, Urologist Dr. Bert Vorstman details "Robotic Prostate Cancer Surgery: A Public Health Nightmare", the story behind prostate cancer and the industry that has been built around it.

Dr. Vorstman slammed the over-diagnosis and over-treatment of prostate cancers and called the radical prostatectomies performed by robotic procedures a "boondoggle for healthcare".

"Not only does this robotic prostatectomy lack scientific data to prove its safety and benefit for prostate cancer treatment but the very common so-called Gleason 6 (3+3) prostate "cancer" needs no treatment because on both clinical and molecular biology grounds, it behaves as noncancerous and is not a health risk," said Dr. Vorstman.  "Instead, most men with a prostate cancer label are over-treated for zero benefit, resulting in a trail of broken patients with bad postoperative outcomes including urinary incontinence and impotence.  Because of a lack of sincere regulatory oversight, this robotic procedure has generated many product liability lawsuits."

Dr. Vorstman's comments join with a growing chorus of those decrying the lack of benefits for PSA prostate cancer screening along with the lifelong harms associated with treatment and especially surgery.  Included are the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of the American Cancer Society, Otis Brawley MD, author of  "How We Do Harm"; Anthony Horan MD, author of "How to Avoid the Over-Diagnosis and Over-Treatment of Prostate Cancer; Richard J. Albin, the discoverer of the PSA test and co-author (with Ron Piana) of "The Great Prostate Hoax"; L. Klotz MD, who underscored that molecular and clinical research showed the Gleason 6 (3+3) "cancer" to lack the hallmarks of cancer; the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which reported on the absence of benefits for PSA screening for the treatment of screen-detected prostate cancer; and the numerous victims of the brutal radical prostatectomy who suffered the many after-effects but no benefits.

"The Journal of the American Medical Association warned of a 'Gizmo Idolatry' in a 2008 editorial and I'm afraid that's where we stand today with robotic prostate surgery," said Dr. Vorstman, who has long advocated patient rights and full disclosure in treatment procedures. "Again, the approval of robotics for prostate cancer treatment is yet another shining example of junk science and greed influencing "new research" to justify old, ill-conceived treatment philosophies."

"Robotic prostatectomy has been mass marketed, heavily promoted for patient exploitation and now has become a profit center for medical facilities and hospitals at patient expense," said Dr. Vorstman.  "As well, with robotic surgical systems costing close to $2 million, plus a $150,000 per year service contract, this preoccupation with patient exploitation has led physicians and hospitals to create their own supply and demand as well as squander endless sums of precious healthcare dollars on mostly insignificant prostate cancers."

"This intentionally misleading, broad-brush labeling of every prostate cancer as though it were some fast moving, potential killer cancer when only some prostate cancers exhibit this potential, requires urgent correction to stop the many unscrupulous physicians misleading men about their cancer and the debilitating robotic treatment purposefully for self-gain," he added.

SOURCE Dr. Bert Vorstman
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