Most men wouldn't argue the importance of early detection. But very few of them willingly schedule regular prostate screenings – for a variety of reasons.
"Since having my tonsils out when I was 8, I've been terrified of doctors," prostate cancer survivor Gary McRee explains. But the 61-year-old tax consultant couldn't ignore the statistics: Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 American men and, when detected early, its cure rate is nearly 100 percent. This, added to the fact that his wife was diligent about scheduling her annual health checkups, motivated Gary to follow suit.
And it's a good thing he did. Without a history for comparison, Gary's prostate-specific antigen (PSA) score likely would not have been cause for concern. His prostate wasn't enlarged, and he had none of the usual symptoms, such as frequent and painful urination, blood in the urine, and pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs. But the fact that his PSA score appeared to be consistently creeping up was enough to warrant a referral to local urologist Nadeem Rahman, M.D.
A biopsy revealed that Gary had a small amount of cancer in his prostate. But it wasn't enough to require aggressive treatment – at least not yet.
"Dr. Rahman was great," Gary says. "He explained all of my different options."
A year later, tests revealed that the prostate cancer was slowly growing and needed to be removed. This time, Gary opted for a da Vinci® robotic prostatectomy – the gold standard for surgical prostate removal.
"I was amazed by what a piece of cake the procedure was," he explains. "Unlike men I know who had open surgery, I was back to normal within a week and had practically no pain."
Gary's experience, according to Dr. Rahman, is typical for patients who have robotic surgery.
"In contrast to traditional radical prostatectomy, which requires an 8- to 10-inch incision, the da Vinci only requires a few small 1- to 2-centimeter incisions," Dr. Rahman says.
"The benefits to patients are tremendous: less pain and blood loss, a much quicker recovery, improved cancer control, and a faster return to continence and potency."
"I'm completely sold on the da Vinci," Gary says. "I don't know why you would consider anything else."
For more information about da Vinci® Robotic Prostatectomy, click here.
On a mission to heal body, mind and spirit