Prostate Cancer - How to find the best Surgeons
Some useful links if you live in the UK (Page updated 5th September 2013)

Having personally done a lot of research to find Mr Omer Karim, who was the surgeon that operated on me, using the da Vinci equipment, I was ever so pleased, after the big event to see this link (local PDF) or LIVE from the Daily Mail

A lot of people that I have spoken to just do not realise that the NHS gives you THE CHOICE, I put in my Postcode under the search for "Cancer of the prostate" and then started the hard work of making one of the biggest life decisions ever. Finally, I felt that my best choice was between Wexham Park Hospital (Slough) and Addenbrookes (Cambridge).

You may wonder why I did not opt for my local hospital considering that it was they who had done all of the biopsy, scans and diagnosis and given their best suggestions. I had the oncologist telling me that radiotherapy was the best solution whereas the surgeon told me that the manual method he has been practicing for hundreds of operations was the best way; when I wanted to ask more questions the answer was "as you can see, there are many more people waiting too so we'll have to call an end to this." The MacMillan nurse's answer when I asked about the other methods I had seen, such as da Vinci, I was told, "well if you want to go somewhere else that is up to you. We can't afford the da Vinci system so we don't offer it. I'll just take you off our books.". Putting it mildly, the guarantee of never again achieving an erection and a 10% chance of permanent incontinence was not the choice I wanted to take.

Bear in mind that all GPs have their preferred list of surgeons; the first reaction to my request was "I'm not sure if Mr Karim is on our list". Well, he is now. If you get the same reaction from your GP, just politely insist that you have made your decision and that is what you want.

Click Here to see the basic information and a simulation video of how the robotic assisted operation is performed. I took a couple of friends with me when I had the first appointment with Mr Karim. He laughed at the "seriousness" of my advanced prostate cancer state with a PSA of 7.1 and a Gleason Score of 4-3 or 4-4 and said that he had successfuly operated on people with a PSA of over 15. He gave me such confidence and explained the operation in detail. Unlike my local hospital visits, I was treated as the one and only patient that he had and it was us that finally terminated the session, still with the ability to ask any more questions with no time limits. Mr Karim is not only a wonderful surgeon but an outstanding gentleman too. The name of the operation is often abbreviated to RALP (Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic radical Prostatectomy) and you can read the Wexham and Heatherwood leaflet with a full description HERE . It may look a bit scary but when you have a real expert in the driving seat of the da Vinci robotic system there is really nothing to worry about.

I should make it plain right now that it was only my local urology department that was more than unimpressive in care, attention and attitude. In March 2008 I had an Emergency Angioplasty at High Wycombe General Hospital with superb treatment by Dr Piers Clifford and his team. Dr Clifford gave me 7 stents with a combined length of over 130mm. (At the time, this was the highest number of stents he had put into one person at one time)

Link2 Explains the benefits of the da Vinci Surgical System compared with older methods - mainly less invasive and magnificent precision.

Link3 Information on Mr Omer Karim MS FRCS FRCSUrol

Link4 The CV that convinced me that I would be safe in the most experienced hands.

Link5 The BBC Radio4 program about Robotic Surgery Operation Robot was first broadcast Thursday 02 December 2010 - The revolution in the operating theatre is only just beginning, but robotic surgery could change the way we think about healthcare ... and the way surgeons work. Peter Day looks at what surgeons are able to achieve with robots now and at the proto-types for healthcare in the future. He asks how significant these advances could be for health in Britain and for British business and hears from the robot pioneers: surgeons, engineers and business people. You can also download the "topped and tailed" version HERE

Link6 - A more recent and interesting view was broadcast on Radio 4 where Andrew Graystone speaks from personal experience to argue that we're using the wrong language to talk about cancer. First Broadcast week-ending 11-August-2013 Or download the "topped and tailed" version from HERE

Link7 - On September 4th 2013 The World at Six from CBC Radio One mentioned that it may be wiser to consider the age of 40 to be the time to get your prostate checked out. If this is recommended in Canada, there has got to be some wise logic in this advice

Link8 and Link9 - On October 27th 2014 The World at Six from CBC Radio One had an article opposing the PSA test (Link8). The very next day (Link9) this was negated and PSA testing was again supported

The Gory bits Please only click on this link if you accept blunt facts that are in plain English / Street langauge and are neither in a medical language nor recommended family reading

If you would like to help research and support by giving money, Prostate Action was born on 12 October 2010, by the merger of Prostate UK and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. There is another UK Prostate Cancer Research charity called The Prostate Cancer Research Centre. Now, if you are not confused enough already, there is also a support charity called The Prostate Cancer Charity

Do you realise that you can help Cancer Research and much other valuable research all of the time that you are using your PC? All of your spare CPU time can be donated to the World Community Grid - sign up now - setup the times that you use your PC - choose which or all of the projects that you wish to help - it's soooooo easy.



If you have any other suggestions or comments or spot any errors, you may contact me via
8 Temple End, High Wycombe, Bucks HP13 5DR, England
or just email phil@philperkins.com