August 8, 2016 – Man Versus Robot


Anchor lead: Is a man or a robot better at removing the prostate? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Are robots better at removing the prostate gland in men with prostate cancer than surgeons using a traditional operation?  Most people thought yes, but a recent study comes to a different conclusion.  Ballantine Carter, a prostate cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, explains the results.

Carter: There really weren’t any significant differences in terms of the things patients care about. There were no differences in positive margin rates, which is a proxy for removal of all of the cancer. And there were no differences in quality of life issues after surgery, the things patients really care about sexual function and urinary function. I think the trial really shows us that we need to be very careful about making assumptions. This was an assumption that was made that this quote minimally invasive surgery would improve outcomes and it didn’t turn out that way.   :32

Carter says things like improvement in sexual function can continue for several years following prostate removal, and that this study will report longer follow up in a couple of years. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.