How to dis­cover uri­nary dis­eases and the ap­pli­ance of ro­botic arms

Edi­tor's note:

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - VISTA -

The hu­man uri­nary sys­tem con­sists of a se­ries of or­gans in­clud­ing kid­neys, ureters, ure­thra, blad­der, and prostate (for male). Un­for­tu­nately, uri­nary dis­eases are some of the most com­mon among to­day’s pop­u­la­tion, re­gard­less of gen­der or age. These dis­eases can be caused by other sys­temic dis­eases of the body, and also af­fect other sys­tems and even our whole body. To make mat­ters worse, some early-stage symp­toms of uri­nary sys­tem dis­eases are hard to iden­tify. With ro­botic arms used more and more widely in mod­ern-day med­i­cal op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing uri­nary sys­tem surg­eries, the Global Times re­cently in­ter­viewed Dr Zhu Gang, Chief Urol­o­gist and Chair of Urol­ogy at Beijing United Fam­ily Hospi­tal, who at the time had just com­pleted a ro­botic-as­sisted surgery.

Global Times: Is there any spe­cific group of peo­ple who are more at risk of uro­log­i­cal dis­eases? Are mid­dle-aged and se­nior males among the high­est-risk groups?

Zhu: Uro­log­i­cal dis­eases are com­mon in all ages, in­clud­ing fe­tuses and ba­bies, but the dis­eases of dif­fer­ent ages are not the same. For small children, most pa­tients are of con­gen­i­tal dis­eases, and for younger adults stone dis­eases are more com­mon. There is about a 25-per­cent risk in a per­son’s life­time that they will get the stone. Also, young adults are more likely to suf­fer from pro­stati­tis while more se­nior and el­derly peo­ple are pa­tients with pro­static hy­per­pla­sia.

Global Times: What is the in­ci­dence of prostate cancer?

Zhu: Prostate cancer is a very com­mon dis­ease. It is ranked ninth among the top-10 most com­mon tu­mors in China and the fifth-high­est in­ci­dence of tu­mors among males. Com­pared with the Asian pop­u­la­tion, whose in­ci­dence rate is about 30/100,000, the Euro­pean and Amer­i­can in­ci­dence rates are four times higher. There­fore, in Europe and the US, it is the sec­ond-high­est mor­tal­ity rate dis­ease among males. But this dis­ease has been thor­oughly stud­ied in ev­ery as­pect from di­ag­noses, treat­ment and medicine.

Global Times: Is there any symp­tom that may eas­ily be ne­glected but is an in­di­ca­tion of uro­log­i­cal dis­eases?

Zhu: Yes, there are a few. For ex­am­ple hema­turia is the most com­monly seen symp­tom of uro­log­i­cal dis­eases, and pain­less hema­turia is more of a pre­cur­sor to tu­mors. Lum­bago, or lower back pain, es­pe­cially uni­lat­eral lower back pain, may in­di­cate a kid­ney prob­lem on that side. And high blood pres­sure can be an in­di­ca­tion of adrenal prob­lems. Fam­ily med­i­cal his­tory is also a rea­son for prostate cancer.

A man, aged over 50, will have a two-times-higher in­ci­dence of prostate cancer if one fam­ily mem­ber has had it, and the in­ci­dence rate can be eight times higher if two fam­ily mem­bers have had prostate cancer. There­fore, I rec­om­mend reg­u­lar med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions. I had a pa­tient who had a 1.9-cen­time­ter tu­mor. It was dif­fi­cult to dis­cover it with­out the ex­am­i­na­tion. Be­cause uro­log­i­cal or­gans are deep in­side our body, small tu­mors are hardly felt. But it is dur­ing a tu­mor’s early stage that the pos­si­bil­ity of a cure is the high­est.

Global Times: Re­cently, the Urol­ogy Depart­ment of Beijing United Fam­ily Hospi­tal suc­cess­ful com­pleted a very com­pli­cated ro­botic surgery for tes­tic­u­lar cancer. Com­pared with open surgery and la­paro­scopic surgery, what are the ad­van­tages of ro­botic surgery?

Zhu: Speak­ing of surgery fine­ness, la­paro­scopic surgery is al­ready a rev­o­lu­tion, be­cause a la­paro­scope is able to en­large the picture of the op­er­a­tion area, mak­ing the vi­sion clearer. Ro­botic surg­eries can fur­ther en­large the picture and help in­crease the fine­ness of surgery. In the as­pects of safety, pain con­trol and tu­mor con­trol, ro­botic surgery is by far the best op­tion. Ro­botic surgery has been widely ap­plied in prostate cancer surgery. In the US, about 95 per­cent of prostate cancer rad­i­cal op­er­a­tions are done by ro­botic arms.

Photo: Cour­tesy of BJU

Dr Zhu Gang (sec­ond from right) and this team re­ceives a thank you card from a pa­tient's daugh­ter.

Photo: Cour­tesy of BJU

Dr Zhu Gang in a ro­botic surgery

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