24/04/2012 07:05 BST

Robot-Assisted Prostate Cancer Surgery At All-Time High In US

According to a new Henry Ford Hospital study published in the current issue of the medical journal European Urology, robot-assisted surgery is now both more common and far more successful than radical "open" surgery to treat prostate cancer in the United States.

In the US, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in men, and surgery became the standard treatment after it was shown that surgery resulted in a higher survival rates.

In a statement, Quoc-Dien Trinh, M.D., a fellow at VUI and lead author of the study, said that in the last 10 years they've seen a significant trend toward the use of minimally invasive approaches to robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP), particularly in the US.

The study found "superior" results with RARP in virtually every outcome studied, including the amount of necessary blood transfusions, complications during and after surgery, and length of hospital stay.

Recent research into experimental treatment 'focal therapy', where high-intensity ultrasound is used to treat small areas of cancer, could also provide more effective treatment in the future, hope researchers.

More than 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK, with approximately 10,000 fatal cases. Standard therapy currently involves treating the whole prostate, either with radiotherapy or surgery to remove it completely. But both methods can lead to unpleasant side effects such as incontinence, poor sexual performance and diarrhoea.

Owen Sharp, chief executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, told HuffPost Lifestyle that he welcomes any treatment that limits the possibility of damaging side effects.

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