LETTERS AND COMMENTARY
MAY 24, 2005
Minimally invasive surgery promising
I read with great interest the article "Treatment of prostate cancer easier with new surgical tool" by Dr. Rallie McAllister
in the May 12 Health and Fitness section.
First, I would like to thank you for providing this public service. I think it is most important for the public to stay
informed about the latest trends in prostate cancer treatment.
I spent a year at the University of California at Irvine as a minimally invasive surgery fellow, where I worked closely with
Dr. Ahlering to learn and help train other surgeons in robotic surgery. It is a technique I strongly believe in. Although
the long-term efficacy is unknown, the short-term data look very promising. The advantages of minimally invasive
surgery, and the degree of precision, as stated in the article, are obvious.
Currently, we do not have a robotic system in place in Hawai'i. Our prostate cancer patients have to travel to the
Mainland if they desire this type of treatment. As the patients become more informed, there has been a steady
increase in the number of patients who choose to leave home for their care.
A small group of surgeons and I have been in discussion with one of the local hospitals to bring robotic surgery, not
limited to treatment for prostate cancer, to Hawai'i. It has been an extremely slow process, but I continue to be hopeful.
DAVID S. CHOU, M.D. Punahou