Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Prostate cancer patients ought to pay attention to this bit of information. A new study from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center claims that most of the surgeons treating prostate cancer in the United States apparently have very less yearly caseloads, which may result in augmented rates of both surgical impediments and cancer relapse.

It is supposedly acknowledged that surgical volume may be linked to better patient results, and less complication. Earlier work from this team has apparently signified that a surgeon’s lifetime experience with radical prostatectomy is believed to be powerfully connected to cancer control. Patients treated by veteran surgeons are thought to have a 40 percent lesser threat of a cancer recurrence as compared to patients treated by inexpert surgeons. The significance of experience in cancer results has apparently been referred to as the ‘learning curve’.

An examination of data on radical prostatectomy which is the surgical amputation of the prostate for men with prostate cancer is said to have been headed by Andrew Vickers, PhD, Associate Attending Research Methodologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Of US surgeons treating prostate cancer patients in 2005, it was observed that apparently more than 25 percent conducted only a single radical prostatectomy that year and roughly 80 percent of surgeons carried out less than ten such procedures.

Dr. Vickers, commented, “We have previously shown that a surgeon needs to conduct an average of 250 radical prostatectomies to give patients the best chance of cure. So we decided to look at how long it would take a typical surgeon to reach that number of procedures. While the learning curve is not the only factor in determining surgical skill, we found that the majority of surgeons who treat prostate cancer patients will not achieve that number of procedures in their entire career.”

A high-volume surgeon is described as one who conducts around 50 cases a year or more. As per Dr. Vickers and colleagues’ research, only around 2 percent of surgeons nationwide and 4 percent of New York State surgeons belong to this category. Nationally, it is seen that only about one in five prostate cancer patients are said to be treated by high-volume surgeons. This is claimed to be about 40 percent in New York State as the city contains huge specialized centers.

Dr. Vickers remarked, “Prostate cancer patients considering surgery should be aware that most surgeons have very little experience treating this disease. They are likely to have a reduced risk of complications, and better chance of cure, if they are treated at a specialist cancer center by a surgeon who focuses on treating prostate cancer.”

There were apparently two independent data sets that were utilized in this investigation. The first set is alleged to be a nationally representative sample of hospitals, which was acquired from the 2005 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), accessible from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The second data set, the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS), apparently comprises of all patients’ discharge records for New York State in 2005.

Apparently more than 6,500 patients treated with radical prostatectomy in 2005 by 1 of 933 surgeons were recognized. The study supposedly incorporated radical prostatectomies that were carried out laparoscopically and with robotics in addition to more conventional open surgery.

The study would appear in the Journal of Urology.