September 26, 2023

Prostate Cancer Surgeries Among 3 Robotic Procedures to be Funded by Ontario Health

A Decade of Research from St. Joe’s Helped to Lobby for this Change

This summer, Ontario Health announced three types of robotic-assisted surgery now qualify for OHIP funding – among them are robotic-assisted procedures for Prostate Cancer. Until now, robotic surgery in Ontario has only been available thanks in large part to philanthropy.

Affecting 1 in 8 people, Prostate Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canadian men. St. Joe’s is the regional lead for urologic care and prostate cancer surgery, performing over 250 surgeries annually – the vast majority of which are performed robotically.

The Hospital’s robotics surgery program was launched in 2012 after a $5 million donation from the Boris Family brought the da Vinci surgical robot to St. Joe’s. An additional $6.6 million in investments by the family, and over $5 million in gifts from grateful patients and our generous community have continued to fuel the Hospital’s mission to show the benefits of robotic-assisted procedures.

“Every one of the 2,578 robotic-assisted prostatectomies we’ve performed at St. Joe’s over the past 11 years, have been part of research studies documenting that patients undergoing robotic surgery are healing faster, returning to their lives, their jobs and their families sooner – and with fewer complications,” says Dr. Bobby Shayegan, one of the country’s top urologic surgeons and Chief of Surgery at St. Joe’s.

Certainly, that was Michael Foster’s Experience.
After routine bloodwork during an annual physical with his family doctor, St. Catharines resident Michael Foster, found out he had elevated levels of PSA. After a biopsy confirmed that cancer had been detected, he immediately began researching what treatments for prostate cancer diagnosis might look like and which hospitals in the region provided this specialized care.

“I knew that eventually surgery might be needed, and I saw that St. Joe’s was one of only three Hospitals in the province performing prostate cancer surgeries with a surgical robot,” says Michael. “The literature I read indicated robotic surgery was the way to go.”

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