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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

Laszlo Szalvay, Naples, FL and Portland, OR

I am 64 years old. Generally I am in good health: normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, no surgeries, no medications, in good physical shape. My annual medical check-up showed lab test results were within normal ranges and my prostate PSA test was around 0.7 ng/ml.

About 4-5 years age I started to have FUN (Frequent Urination at Night) prostate problems and went to see my doctor. She did the digital rectal examination (DRE) and found nothing unusual; my PSA was 1.0 ng/ml. My FUN was getting worse and some nights I had to get up two or three times so I kept complaining to my doctors in Oregon and in Florida. It was more DREs and PSA tests in the 1.1-1.2 range. I was diagnosed with BPH and put on Flomax, which helped but not much.

In May I went to see my doctor in Naples and complained about FUN. This time, she found some nodules on the DRE and became visibly concerned. The PSA came back at 1.49. She called me with the result and told me not to worry because my PSA is low so I can continue on the Flomax.

In September I had my annual physical in Oregon and my PSA was 1.38. This time my doctor recommended a urologist just to establish a relationship and set up an early reference point. So I went to see a urologist and here is where my luck began.

During the DRE, the urologist also found nodules and recommended an ultrasound and prostate biopsy; he explained that the PSA is unreliable and my prostate is not enlarged so we have to find out what causing all this FUN. The ultrasound showed some irregularities and the biopsy came back positive for cancer with the Gleason score 6.

This hit me very hard. Totally healthy otherwise, in good shape, healthy life style and diet, in my prime and I have cancer…..

After the initial shock I started to do a lot research about treatment for prostate cancer and found that because of my good health and relatively young age the radical prostatectomy is the way to go. Here I had 3 choices for prostate cancer surgery: open surgical radical retropubic prostatectomy, laparoscopic prostatectomy, and robotic prostate surgery.

After reading a lot clinical reports on the PubMed site I decided that the open is out. This left laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and robotic prostate surgery. During my research I repeatedly came across Dr. Arnon Krongrad as a pioneer of the laparoscopic prostate surgery. I checked out his web site and talked with his assistants Ruth and Hope. I found out that he has done over 1,000 of this surgery in the past eight years and he does only surgery. I also talked to a local urologist here in Naples who does the Da Vinci Robotic surgery. He had started two years ago and performed over 300 surgeries. Dr. Krongrad’s experience and track record were overwhelming.

I have a good friend who is an MD and internationally well known in his field and I asked him if he can help me to decide which surgeon I should go with. After a few days he called me that his “spies” reported that Dr. Krongrad has excellent professional reputation and track record.

Ruth, Hope, and Dr. Krongrad were very friendly and accommodating. The prostate removal was a few days later and everything went well. The blood loss was minimal, the prostate was removed intact, the nerves were spared and I felt pretty good except during the night I had a transient bladder spasm. The next day Dr. Krongrad released me from the hospital and my wife and my son drove me home.

I got better every day and nine days after the surgery the catheter was removed (what a relief!!) and the same day went for a light swim. I am taking regular walks every day and just feeling good. The small incisions in the pelvic area are healing fast and I am starting to get some good sleep.

Thank you, Dr. Krongrad!

PS: I just hope that doctors would be more careful diagnosing FUN and would not rely on the PSA alone. If they are not sure, they should send the patient to a urologist. A lot of prostate cancer could be caught at an early stage, saving lives and/or complications.

treatment for prostate cancer, surgery for prostate cancer