Prostate cancer remains one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. In fact, one in six men will develop prostate cancer.(1) It is also the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.(1) But a recent survey suggests that many men at risk for the cancer still aren't aware of all available treatment options.

The survey, conducted late last year, reveals that nearly 50% of men aged 40 and older are not aware of the most common approach to surgery for prostate cancer -- robotic-assisted surgery to remove the prostate.(2)

"I had to do my own research and then self-admit myself to the [hospital]," says surgery patient Tim Propheter. " ... Most people are just told ... 'Sorry, you have to have surgery, and we'll set you up for such and such day,' and they don't know any better until they run into someone like me," he says.

This lack of information persists despite the fact that prostate cancer treatment has changed dramatically in the last decade. For example, surgery -- which remains the gold standard treatment for localized prostate cancer -- has become much less invasive. According to the American Urologic Association, the major benefit of prostatectomy, or prostate removal, is a potential "cancer cure" in patients with localized or early stage cancer.(3)

Research suggests that patients are not only seeking information on treatment options, but those who research their options are more than three times as likely to receive newer treatments than patients who don't seek information.(4)

Meanwhile, men today are now being screened for prostate cancer at younger and younger ages.(5) For these men, functional results -- continence and potency -- have increasingly serious relevancy. As middle-aged men with a full life ahead of them, they face difficult choices between treatments that could save their lives but seriously impact their quality of life. These difficult decisions can overwhelm patients who may not know much about prostate cancer at the time of their diagnosis.

"If I have any regrets looking back, one would be my prior level of ignorance about prostate cancer," says prostate surgery patient and writer Raymond Jones, referring to his diagnosis.(6) "Nonetheless, my diagnosis was one of the better ones available in the world of cancer. I feel lucky to have had such an outstanding level of care," Jones concludes.

The survey also revealed that most men (39%) are likely to go to their primary care physician first for information on treatment.(2) Yet, nearly 34% of men indicated that they are only likely to begin their research after they have symptoms.(2) At this point, it may be too late to receive a potential cure offered by surgery: In cases of prostate cancer, symptoms usually occur when cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.(7)

The good news about prostate cancer is that today, men who are diagnosed early can beat prostate cancer.(8) And, effective treatment options like minimally invasive da Vinci Surgery can offer potential benefits like effective cancer control,(9) improved and early return of sexual function(10) and urinary continence,(11) and a fast recovery.(12)

"I expected to experience a time where I would be completely incapacitated, followed by a prolonged period of healing, but that was never the case," says surgery patient Sheldon Hough. "If I had one message for men, it would be that there is significant hope. Don't postpone getting regular prostate screenings. And if you are faced with a prostate cancer diagnosis, know your options and seek out the best possible care."(13)( )

The Awareness Initiative

The survey results underline the fact that awareness of prostate cancer and available treatment options remains low -- even among at-risk men who could benefit from this critical information. This remains the case even at a time when prostate cancer treatment has been identified by the Obama administration as one of the top 10 priorities for comparative effectiveness research -- one of the first steps towards national healthcare reform.(14)( )

To leverage this spotlight and to highlight the importance of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, Intuitive((R)) Surgical is launching the da Vinci((R)) Surgery Awareness Initiative.((TM)) The Awareness Initiative is supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation in a national campaign reaching millions of people with the goal of educating the public about prostate cancer and raising funds to cure cancer.

The objective of the Awareness Initiative is to inform the community about prostate cancer: How it is detected, what causes the disease and how it is commonly treated. Hundreds of hospitals nationwide are participating in the Awareness Initiative through various locally sponsored events designed to increase awareness and featuring varied activities including cancer screening, guest speakers, health fairs, family and sports even

About the survey

Data was collected from 1000 self-selected adult healthcare information seekers through an online panel available through, using an survey questionnaire. Fifty-four percent of those were male and 46 percent were female. The results reflect only the opinions of the healthcare seekers who chose to participate.

About Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

The survey was conducted by Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG), the manufacturer of the da Vinci Surgical System, the world's only commercially available system designed to allow physicians to provide a minimally invasive option for complex surgeries. Intuitive Surgical, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is the global technology leader in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery (MIS). Intuitive Surgical develops, manufactures and markets robotic technologies designed to improve clinical outcomes and help patients return more quickly to active and productive lives. The company's mission is to extend the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to the broadest possible base of patients. Intuitive Surgical -- Taking surgery beyond the limits of the human hand(.)((TM))

About da Vinci((R)) Surgery:

Imagine major surgery performed through the smallest of incisions. Imagine having the benefits of a definitive treatment but with the potential for significantly less pain, a shorter hospital stay, faster return to normal daily activities - as well as the potential for better clinical outcomes. Clinical studies also suggest that the da Vinci System may help surgeons provide better clinical outcomes as compared to conventional technologies -- for example, better cancer control and faster return to normal function, including urinary continence and sexual potency with da Vinci Prostatectomy.(15) With the da Vinci Surgical System, surgeons and hospitals are re-writing accepted standards for surgical care. da Vinci is changing the experience of surgery.

About The Lance Armstrong Foundation:

At the Lance Armstrong Foundation, we fight for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. There can be - and should be - life after cancer for more people. That's why we kick in at the moment of diagnosis, giving people the resources and support they need to fight cancer head-on. We find innovative ways to raise awareness, fund research and end the stigma about cancer that many survivors face. We connect people and communities to drive social change, and we call for state, national and world leaders to help fight this disease.

Intuitive((R)), da Vinci((R)), da Vinci((R)) S((TM)), da Vinci((R)) Si((TM)) , InSite((R)) and EndoWrist((R)) are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intuitive Surgical, Inc. This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statement is subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in Intuitive Surgical's latest Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008. Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated results described. Intuitive Surgical undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements to reflect actual events or circumstances that occur after the date of this press release. While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci((R)) System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci((R)) Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual.


(1) "What are the Key Statistics About Prostate Cancer?"

(2) Intuitive Surgical, Inc. October 2008 Survey of 1000 self -selecting internet health seekers aged 40 and over.

(3) Prostate Cancer Clinical Guideline Update Panel. Guideline for the management of clinically localized prostate cancer: 2007 update. Linthicum (MD): American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc.; 2007, p 82

(4) Gray SW, Armstrong K, Demichele A, Schwartz JS, Hornik RC. Colon cancer patient information seeking and the adoption of targeted therapy for on-label and off-label indications. Cancer. 2009 Apr 1;115(7):1424-34




(8) Tewari A, Raman JD, Chang P, Rao S, Divine G, Menon M. Long-term survival probability in men with clinically localized prostate cancer treated either conservatively or with definitive treatment (radiotherapy or radical prostatectomy). Urology. 2006 Dec;68(6):1268-74.

(9) Tewari A, Raman JD, Chang P, Rao S, Divine G, Menon M. Long-term survival probability in men with clinically localized prostate cancer treated either conservatively or with definitive treatment (radiotherapy or radical prostatectomy). Urology. 2006 Dec;68(6):1268-74.

(10) Buron, C., B. Le Vu, et al. (2007). Brachytherapy versus prostatectomy in localized prostate cancer: Results of a French multicenter prospective medico-economic study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 67(3): 812-22.

(11) Kaul S, et al. Robotic Radical Prostatectomy with Preservation of the Prostatic Fascia: A Feasability Study. Urology 66, 1261-1265.

(12) Ari Hakimi A, Feder M, Ghavamian R; Minimally Invasive Approaches to Prostate Cancer A Review of the Current Literature; Urology Journal, 2007;4:130-7.


(14) Jennifer Newell. HealthNews Dozen: Top 12 Congressional Healthcare Priorities.

(15) Cancer control is defined in part by margin rates and PSA test scores. The following studies provide support for these claims: Badani KK, Kaul S, Menon M. Evolution of robotic radical prostatectomy: assessment after 2766 procedures. Cancer. 2007 Sep 24;110(9):1951-1958. Menon M, Shrivastava A, Kaul S, Badani KK, Fumo M, Bhandari M, Peabody JO. Vattikuti Institute prostatectomy: contemporary technique and analysis of results. Eur Urol. 2007 Mar;51(3):648-57; discussion 657-8. Epub 2006 Nov 3. Patel VR, Thaly R, Shah K. Robotic radical prostatectomy: outcomes of 500 cases. BJU Int. 2007 May;99(5):1109-12. Ahlering TE, Skarecky D, Borin J. Impact of cautery versus cautery-free preservation of neurovascular bundles on early return of potency. 1: J Endourol. 2006 Aug;20(8):586-9. Menon M, Kaul S, Bhandari A, Shrivastava A, Tewari A, Hemal A. Potency following robotic radical prostatectomy: a questionnaire based analysis of outcomes after conventional nerve sparing and prostatic fascia sparing techniques. J Urol. 2005 Dec;174(6):2291-6, discussion 2296. Borin JF, Skarecky DW, Narula N, Ahlering TE. Impact of urethral stump length on continence and positive surgical margins in robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. 1: Urology. 2007 Jul;70(1):173-7. Ahlering TE, Woo D, Eichel L, Lee DI, Edwards R, Skarecky DW. Robot-assisted versus open radical prostatectomy: a comparison of one surgeon's outcomes. Urology. 2004 May;63(5):819-22. Menon M, Tewari A, Peabody JO, Shrivastava A, Kaul S, Bhandari A, Hemal AK. Vattikuti Institute prostatectomy, a technique of robotic radical prostatectomy for management of localized carcinoma of the prostate: experience of over 1100 cases. Urol Clin North Am. 2004 Nov;31(4):701-17. Tewari A, Srivasatava A, Menon M; Members of the VIP Team. A prospective comparison of radical retropubic and robot-assisted prostatectomy: experience in one institution. BJU Int. 2003 Aug;92(3):205-10.

Source: Intuitive Surgical, Inc