Thursday, 21 February 2013

Latest Boys’ Toy arrives in Exeter



Yes, I expect you’re wondering what that photo of Bob Monkhouse is doing there with its scary message.

Well, if you’ve been curious enough to read about the crazy man who spends so much time blogging away about the latest news from Budleigh’s museum you’ll know that I am, I hope, a cancer survivor. And digging deeper - perhaps by using the search box on the blog and typing in the word prostate - you’ll find that I, like many of my age, went through the prostatectomy ordeal just over three years ago.  That followed a diagnosis of cancer two years previously.

You’ll also have noted, perhaps that not all of this blog is devoted to Fairlynch Museum or even Budleigh Salterton, fascinating though our little town is.

Yes, it’s a grim business, cancer. Like any life-threatening illness. But the doctors are making progress and now comes news that the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has bought a robot to carry out surgical procedures such as prostatectomy. They do say that the robot is less likely to leave patients with the annoying side-effects for which the op is known.


Maybe I should have waited. But hey ho... they’ll always be making improvements and breakthroughs. We console ourselves with thoughts like “It could have been a lot worse” or “There’s always someone worse off than yourself” etc etc.

Anyway, an all-day demonstration of the surgical robot will take place in the Main Reception area of the hospital on Thursday 28 February, announces the RDandE’s urology consultant John McGrath.  All staff and visitors will be invited to have a go - operating on peas, rather than human beings - he reassures us.

“Various surgeons will be on hand to answer questions and show how the equipment is used,” says Mr McGrath. “The demonstration heralds the launch of prostate cancer awareness month and the beginning of the research programme which the RD&E is pioneering in partnership with Exeter University Medical School and Hong Kong University.”

Above: A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine. 
Image credit: Wikipedia

The Trust took delivery of its first £2.5 million in state-of-the-art robotic equipment in late December 2012 and is one of only around 20 hospitals in the UK now using robots in complex surgery to target prostate cancers.

“Everyone is welcome at the demonstration day and it would be great to see you there,” Mr McGrath tells us.


As pretty as the flowers of Himalayan balsam!
(See )
A micrograph - photo taken through a microscope, showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma (the most common form of prostate cancer) Gleason pattern 4.  
Image credit: Nephron via Wikipedia
And my reason for posting this message of course is simple. I hope that my male readers or their partners who are concerned about prostate matters but have not done anything about it may be curious enough to go along. If only to see a very clever boys’ toy at work.

 There is an active Exmouth and Budleigh branch of the North & East Devon Prostate Support Associaiton. See

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