Help us raise £1.6million for cancer op ‘robot’

By Ian Dipple Thursday 20 March 2014 Updated: 20/03 23:29

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Buy photos » Lend your support - Save the Alex chairman Neal Stote, Ian Dipple from our sister title the Redditch Standard, and consultant Adel Makar urge people to back the Rory the Robot Appeal.

WE WANT Standard readers to help get behind the Rory the Robot campaign to secure a surgical robot for the Alexandra Hospital, revolutionising the way prostate cancer patients are treated in the county.

A total of £1.6million is needed to buy the machine for the Woodrow Drive hospital, the county’s centre of excellence for urology.

Prostate cancer claims the life of one man every hour and by 2030 will be the most common cancer. In Worcestershire alone there are 2,500 men surviving prostate cancer at any one time, with about 450 to 550 new prostate cancer cases diagnosed every year.

The technology will allow surgeons to remove tumours with more precision through five cuts around the prostate gland rather than open surgery. It means less blood loss, less pain after surgery, a lower risk of complications and recovery times will fall from up to 12 weeks to between three to four weeks.

It was first developed by the US military to allow surgeons based in America to operate remotely on soldiers injured on the battlefield over the internet, but has since been developed for use in general hospitals. It can also be used for head and neck cancer, colorectal and heart surgery.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Alex, is spearheading the campaign backed by the Standard and its sister titles, as well as the Save the Alex campaign.

Adel Makar, urology consultant and lead cancer clinician for the Trust, said prostate cancer survival rates were already among the best in Europe but with other hospitals in Birmingham or Gloucestershire either having already bought a machine or fund-raising for one, there was a danger the county could get left behind.

He said the surgery was already becoming available elsewhere in the country and the trust wanted to make it available for patients across Worcestershire.

“If everyone in Worcestershire donated just £5 each we would be able to buy the robot straight away.

“Please support us and help us save lives,” he added.

Residents and businesses are being urged to help raise the funds by donating or holding events such as a bake sale, a sponsored run, cycle or swim or even getting paid to stay silent for the day.

Standard editor Tristan Harris said: “Some people may feel this should come from general taxation but with the funding squeeze on the public sector set to continue for some years to come, if we don’t do this for ourselves we will never get one and it will be us that suffer.”

Neal Stote, chairman of the Save the Alex campaign, added: “This is a real boost for our hospital and patients across the county.

“While £1.6million may seem a lot, together we can deliver life-changing results for prostate cancer patients.”

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