Radical surgery to remove the bladder isn’t the norm

The Da Vinci robot at QA Hospital.
The Da Vinci robot at QA Hospital.
Arthur Bailey from Cosham ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (180606-7076)

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Your article on bladder cancer in Tuesday’s Family Life perfectly shows the importance of the Da Vinci Robotic System at QA Hospital.

Unfortunately, the Essentials piece following this report (‘It is, in many ways, the forgotten cancer’)totally misrepresents the facts about bladder cancer when it states that ‘the bladder, lymph nodes and prostate are removed in men…’

Bladder cancer is defined in various grades and the first few grades are deemed non-invasive.

These lower grade cancers are routinely treated during a surgical procedure conducted via the urethra or, as I put it, ‘route one into the bladder’.

Only in the case of severe, invasive bladder cancer is it necessary to resort to more radical forms of surgery, such as bladder removal.

My experience of bladder cancer started with a diagnosis in 2005 and an assurance that removal would be a simple operation with a very low chances of recurrence.

Twelve and a bit years later and after 19 operations, I can vouch for the fact that radical surgery to remove the bladder, etc. is not the norm.

I fear that the alarmist nature of the statement in the Essentials piece could discourage men from seeking help at the first sign of any problems and delaying treatment is likely to result in radical surgery, or worse.

My experience of so many operations, with the last few years in remission, has much to do with the superb care and treatment of the staff at QA and I cannot thank them enough.

Gerry Woods

Southbrook Road, Havant