CAMERON Buchanan MSP is right to question the lack of availability of robot-assisted surgery for prostate cancer patients in Scotland, as is The Herald and Prostate Cancer UK for their continued highlighting of this extremely important issue ("Call to minister over robot treatment for prostate cancer", June 17).

A series of systematic reviews have suggested men with prostate cancer who have their prostate removed via robot-assisted surgery are significantly less likely to have cancer remaining compared to all other forms of surgery, as well as having fewer side effects - such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction - and a shorter stay in hospital than men choosing open surgery. This explains why more than 1000 of these robots have sprung up all over the world, including 33 in England.

It is disheartening that, not only does Scotland have no Da Vinci robots, but that our Health Secretary can give "no commitment about whether the machine would be introduced or whether arrangements would be made for Scots to go to England to get treatment on the NHS". Prostate Cancer UK's Drew Lindon is correct to observe that, when it comes to surgical options for the removal of the prostate, men in Scotland are being left behind. We deserve better.

Alister H Walker,

Chairman, Perth & Kinross Prostate Cancer Support Group,

4 Knockard Place,