A GRANDFATHER has become the first British kidney cancer patient to have a tumour removed by a robot dubbed the “bionic hand”.  The hand-held robot is able to remove cancers with much greater precision than the human hand. It has a special tip which can move in multiple directions at once - letting surgeons carry out operations more quickly and accurately than ever before.–TG

A team at the Manchester Royal Infirmary have now become the first in the country to use the device, called a Kymerax robot, to successful tackle kidney cancer. John Mitchell, 65, who was diagnosed last month, had a small tumour removed by the robot at the MRI.

The grandfather-of-five from Failsworth is not expected to need any more treatment - and believes the robot’s extra precision reduced his recovery time.

He said: “Fortunately my cancer is very early stage - I was lucky that it was picked up so quickly because it means I have the best chance of beating it.

“It’s great that Manchester hospitals are leading the way with new treatments and technologies.”

Mr Mitchell, a retired warehouse manager who lives with his wife Susan, 59, first went to his GP last June when he spotted blood in his urine. He was referred to the Royal Oldham Hospital where doctors discovered cysts on his kidney.

They decided to monitor him closely - and they found a cancerous lump in a routine check-up. He was able to have the keyhole surgery using the robotic device - and because it is so precise it meant that medics were able to leave the majority of the kidney intact, meaning the organ will still function.

Dan Burke, consultant urological surgeon at the MRI, said: “Whilst this operation has been done before these new instruments allow greater accuracy and freedom of movement than the conventional keyhole surgery instruments. “There is a robot on the market that can do similar things but it is currently very expensive and hence has its limitations. This robot will hopefully allow the NHS to do the same but at a fraction of the cost.”

The robot, made by Japanese company Terumo, is much cheaper than traditional larger robots, which cost around £1.8m. The new machine costs around £90,000 and has smaller running costs. The device has previously been used at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport to tackle other types of cancer. TG