I applaud Dr. Vorstman for his excellent articles warning about the risks of surgery and challenging the urologist’s self generated claim that surgery is the gold standard for prostate cancer. I now know surgery is far from being the gold standard and that more informed prostate cancer patients avoid it like the plague. Thanks to the courageous actions of Dr. Vorstman and other urologists who are speaking out about the risks associated with surgery the word is out that this procedure has too high a risk of side effects. An increasing number of health care providers are joining with Dr. Vorstman and recommending minimally invasive treatment of prostate cancer so that risks of side effects are kept low. Since over half of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer still have it treated surgically I now believe those health professionals that are saying the way we treat prostate cancer represents a national public health disaster.
~ Harold Dawley
In May 2010 I was diagnosed with a Gleason 6 prostate cancer. The original urologist in Brisbane I saw about treatment pimped his colleague who had some experience with robotic prostatectomies.
I was told fantastic tales about how good it was compared to open surgery, 5 small 1⁄2 inch cuts versus one 6 inch cut, one day in hospital and I would be back at work in two weeks, along with my cancer “being cured once and for all” The only draw back was it would cost a lot more for the surgery. I was never counseled about alternative treatments.
In September 2010 I underwent a robotic prostatectomy. From day one I was plagued by an enormous amount of pain and discomfort. During the following years I have undergone three additional procedures requiring general anesthetic to repair or rectify issues resulting from robotic surgery.
My complications it seems are not unusual for robotic prostatectomy although I required more than the average man undergoing this procedure. From patient forums on the internet I know other men have had similar experiences. What I cannot understand is how a specially designed tool can make such a mess and give more complications than traditional surgery. And to top it off my surgeon claims he is a mentor for robotic surgery.
To date I have had the following; damaged urethra from the catheter, urinary tract, bladder and kidney infection, torn hip ligaments from the steep trendelenburg positioning, incisional hernia repair, a permanent diastasis recti due to high abdominal pressures used during surgery, surgical clip migration into my bladder and bowel and now diagnosed with recurrent prostate cancer.
Now, 4 years 8 months on I have stress and urge incontinence, bladder nerve damage resulting in a missing “need to urinate” signal, a Sexual Health score (SHIM) of 8/25, damaged stomach muscles from the hernia and recti muscle repairs and diagnosed recurrent prostate cancer. Another surgical clip is bulging the bladder wall and is being closely monitored. Life is indeed miserable and I only wish I had never chosen robotic surgery. I had written to Da Vinci with a somewhat negative but factual “patient experience” and they did publish it and a short time later it was buried and finally disappeared from public view.
Instead of two weeks off work I now have lost 14 weeks and spent approximately $40,000.00 out of pocket medical bills with more to come. I reviewed the consent form and found cleverly worded statements that in hindsight implied I had informed consent, but I now realise I was dealing with a seasoned campaigner and I was duped. Never in my discussions with the surgeon were the complications I experienced discussed. The side effects being incontinence and erectile dysfunction were discussed but with “robotic prostatectomy” were a rarity. I was his 186th patient he operated on with the robot.
During my journey trying to overcome the pathetic results of robotic prostatectomy I found Dr Vorstman’s website and almost immediately had all my concerns confirmed about the treatment I had been recommended and received. I only wish I had found Dr Vorstman’s website prior to my surgery.
~ Darryl Baillie
My PSA levels started rising so I was advised to see a Urologist. After meeting with 3 different Uro’s, it seemed like all of them wanted to put me on a fast track to a prostatectomy. I finally found Dr. Vorstman and after discussing my situation with him, I felt his overall approach to a rising PSA level (which doesn’t necessarily mean prostate cancer) made the most common sense. Using a combination of his experience, honesty and the latest technology I not only still have my prostate intact but have had no invasive procedures whatsoever. With Dr. Vorstman’s guidance we are carefully monitoring all risks of prostate cancer with periodic check-ups, blood testing and MRI’s.
If you have prostate cancer or are concerned about possibly having prostate cancer, please meet with Dr. Vorstman BEFORE you take any drastic action. He is very open and honest about the fraud and scare tactics being used to frighten men into needlessly treating low grade prostate cancer when in most cases it is not needed. He’s seen how a prostatectomy and related side effects (impotence and incontinence) can ruin a man’s life and will do everything in his power to save you from that fate. He won’t take chances with your life but at the same time is very concerned about your quality of life.
~ Darryl Widmaier