Nine Dutch hospitals join forces to centralise prostate cancer operations


Nine Dutch hospitals are joining forces to improve the surgical treatment of prostate cancer, in an effort to boost expertise and reduce the risk of side effects.

All surgery to remove prostates will now be carried out at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital in Amsterdam with diagnosis and follow-up care taking place in their own hospitals.

Amsterdam’s VUmc/AMC hospital combine, the Noordwest hospital group and the Rode Kruis hospital are among the hospitals which have signed up for the deal.

The new strategy means that surgeons at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital will carry out some 750 operations a year by 2020 – around 25% of the annual total in the Netherlands. Currently the hospital carries out around 300 prostate removals.

Side effects

Earlier this year, a study published by the Dutch medical journal Nederlands Tijschrift voor de Geneeskunde showed that a quarter of all men who have to have their prostate removed because of cancer end up suffering from permanent incontinence,

However, the chance of this happening in hospitals that perform the operation on over a hundred patients a year is 30% lower than in hospitals with doctors who have less experience of this type of surgery.

The Dutch urologists association NVU now recommends hospitals should carry out a minimum of a hundred prostate operations a year.

Some 10,000 men are identified with prostate cancer in the Netherlands every year and around 2,500 die from the disease. European research led by Erasmus University in Rotterdam shows a two-yearly prostate cancer test for men aged 55 to 59 would save 300 lives a year.

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