Robotic surgery for prostate cancer is a risky proposition

While we’re on the topic of PSA testing, there’s something else.

Almost half of the men who do have prostate cancer have slow-growing kinds that are not deadly.

The treatments, on the other hand, are a different story.

After a positive PSA, well, then comes the biopsy. After that there can be surgery and radiation — things that do come with serious side effects that can be deadly.

And then there’s that high-tech method called “robotic surgery,” also known as the da Vinci system.

Dr. Richard Ablin, who discovered the prostate-specific antigen called PSA, says, “Robotic surgery is a train that is ready to come off the tracks.”

He said that when the FDA approved that method of prostate surgery, there were no real studies to back up its safety or effectiveness.

“The basis of that approval,” he said, “was the cystectomy (removal) of pig bladders.”

“We’re seeing the results now,” said Dr. Ablin, “which have been disastrous in many cases.”

The machine that does this “robotic prostatectomy” cost $2 million, he said. And then hospitals are also required to have a contract that cost another $100,000.

And while the FDA is said to be currently investigating injuries and deaths related to robotic surgeries, even at the high price tag, there are now over 2,000 of these da Vinci machines in hospitals around the country.

And you know that the FDA is not going to pull back machines that have already been bought and paid for to the tune of a few million.

Now, most experts agree that prostate cancer is essentially “an age-related disease.”

And one, they say, that is rarely aggressive.

So it’s hardly necessary to call out the big guns. Or the “Star Wars” style surgery that’s sounding more and more risky every day.

Do without this surgery if you can.