Since establishing the first centre for robotic surgery in Australia at Epworth in 2003, over 2,500 robotic radical prostatectomies surgeries have been performed there. Additionally I have initiated a program for public patients to be treated by robotic surgery at both Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum.
Since the inception of the programs in robotic surgery outcomes have been audited and data published in prestigious manuscripts including the European Journal of Urology and British Journal of Urology International.
My generous patients have contributed to the establishment of our world class tissue bank which contains informatics, blood and prostate cancer tissue. This resource is vital to the research program aimed at understanding the biology of lethal prostate cancer and what mutations in prostate cancer are killing Australian men.
Techniques in robotic surgery continue to be refined and improved. My Unit is publishing and presenting at international forum around the world. The private practice offers a comprehensive prostate cancer service for our patients including nursing care, physiotherapy care, and psychology support. Addie Wootten and Max Rutherford, clinical psychologists, assist Helen Crowe, my urology nurse practitioner, in counselling our patients prior to and after surgery. We look after all issues around cancer diagnosis, prostate cancer risk and the post-operative care associated with prostate cancer treatment.
It is an exciting time in the provision of care for men with prostate cancer. There have been five new drug therapies made available since 2005 which are prolonging life for so many men with advanced prostate cancer. We have dedicated clinical trials in prostate cancer service in my Unit at Royal Melbourne and at our Prostate Cancer Centre at Epworth for patients who need to access the latest in drug therapy and radiation therapy. In conjunction with Dr Pat Bowden I have established a stereotactic radiation therapy service (Cyberknife) for patients with bony metastatic prostate cancer in an effort to lessen the impact of bone metastasis in our patients.
In 2007 via a grant from the Federal Government I established two centres for dedicated prostate cancer research. One in Melbourne and one if Queensland with the help of the researchers at Queensland University of Technology. In 2013 a new centre at the Garvan Institute at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney was established. In all we have achieved $32 million in grant aid from Federal Government for prostate cancer research since 2007.
Our latest initiative involves the establishment of dedicated men’s health and prostate cancer clinics. There is one established at Epworth for diagnosis and management of complex and advanced prostate cancer. At Royal Melbourne Hospital in November we will open a dedicated prostate cancer clinic for all patients who wish to understand risk, hereditary prostate cancer issues, diagnostics, treatment and management of life after prostate cancer treatment.
We still continue to refine and improve our techniques. We are able now to offer a comprehensive service for our patients which includes the nursing care from Helen Crowe who has now had 20 years experience in managing patients with prostate cancer. Addie Wootten will see all of our patients for psychological counselling prior to surgery. We also work very closely with pelvic floor rehabilitation physiotherapy. I believe we have a very good program both here at Epworth Hospital and at Royal Melbourne Hospital for all patients with prostate cancer.
The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre at Epworth is now in its first year of full operation and I believe will make great progress in the development of new drugs for advanced prostate cancer and also in other very significant areas in prostate cancer research.