I recently joined the UCI Prostate Cancer Center. I have been very fortunate in my career in launching very successful robotic prostate programs. Under Dr. Ahlering, we started the first robotic prostate program in Southern California right here at UCI. I then went to Texas where I established the first program in the South-Central U.S. Then, I established the program in Philadelphia at Penn, which is now the dominant robot prostatectomy program in Pennsylvania and the local tristate area. I am really excited for this opportunity to return to UCI bringing a wealth of experience of more than 6,000 cases that I have personally performed.
The UCI Prostate Cancer Center team maintains a large comprehensive database where we track our robot prostatectomy patients and their outcomes, consisting of pre- operative, peri-operative and post-operative data. This data is carefully captured and analyzed to optimize our techniques to improve cancer, urinary control, and sexual function outcomes. This continuous data evaluation of our procedures provides the insight to deliver the very best outcomes for the next patient that comes through the door.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men, affecting one in seven in their lifetime. If caught early, prostate cancer is highly curable, even when it is on the aggressive side. The screening for prostate cancer is very straightforward, consisting of a physical examination and a blood test known as a PSA. Most men will have normal signs, and this is very reassuring. However, if abnormal tests are detected, then further evaluation and diagnostic technology can be used to help us to determine the best course of action. Catching prostate cancer early is the key.
Surgical treatment for men with prostate cancer that leads to the best prostate cancer cure rate is a surgery called a radical prostatectomy, or complete removal of the prostate. The benefits of doing this robotically for prostate cancer are numerous, including a quick recovery. The great majority of men that I have recently performed this surgery for are home the same day after surgery, are back to work in 2 weeks, and back to exercise activities in 3 weeks. The alternative, open surgery, has long been connected to a lengthy recovery and many side effects. The recovery difference between robotic and open surgery really is night and day.
One of the most important things that I have learned over the 6,000 cases is how to make this very scary experience of undergoing prostate cancer surgery one that is really a lot easier than what most people imagine it will be. The potential side effects of surgery are also anxiety provoking. Education is so important, so spending a lot of time describing what will happen before, during, and after surgery inspires a lot of confidence. Having done so many cases for such a long time, I bring the knowledge to understand how the patients are supposed to recover and to help optimize each person’s recovery through this experience.