Technology plays a huge role in daily life, and health care is no exception.
For prostate cancer patients, robotically assisted surgery is one such example.
When a patient is diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is normal to feel a wave of feelings such as denial, anger, and depression. But once acceptance is achieved, the only goal for the patient and their loved ones is to seek out the best treatment.
It would be wonderful to know which patients’ cancer will spread and whose won’t, thus avoiding unnecessary interventions. During my research residence at Imperial College London, I witnessed impressive research focused on uncovering the markers that could give us such insights, allowing us to make better decisions.
However, as of yet, these techniques are not entirely reliable. Therefore, surgery continues to play a fundamental role in the treatment of virtually all prostate cancer patients.
The good news is that robotically assisted surgery has made enormous strides in both efficacy and precision in the operating room.
In Mexico, there are only a few urologists who have the training, accreditation, and experience necessary for working with this kind of advanced technology. While it’s true that robotic surgery is fairly common in the United States, it is often cost prohibitive, especially for those without sufficient insurance.
However, these same procedures are now available in Mexico for patients seeking out a more cost-effective alternative.
I recall the first time I saw this technology in action while in France. I was amazed to see the surgeon operating from a console with a degree of precision only possible through the use of robotics. I knew right away that I wanted to bring this treatment to my home country, though the road to achieving the necessary certifications would not be an easy one. After completing my training in robotic surgery in the United States, I had the privilege to become the first specialist to perform robotically assisted prostate cancer surgery in southeastern Mexico.
As technology has continued to improve, so have the outcomes. But it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, this technology is but a tool in the hands of a highly trained specialist. Despite the usefulness of technology, it is imperative to never leave out the human factor and the certainty that comes with trusting the deep ethical commitment of the “person behind the machine.”
These days all professions depend more and more on the use of technology, but it’s important to never lose sight of the human element and its desire to do good.
About the author
Dr. Roberto García Carillo is a surgeon certified in urology by the Mexican Council of Urology, with certifications in robotic surgery from Sunnyvale, California, and a specialization in endoscopic robotic surgery from Mexico’s National University. Dr. García Carillo runs a private practice in Mérida, Yucatán, and performs robotic surgeries in Mexico City. He offers virtual and in-person consultations to patients across Mexico, the United States, and Canada. He is currently the director of Prostasur, the only clinic in southeastern Mexico exclusively specialized in treating the urological needs of men.