September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and local physicians are urging men to take control of their health and learn more about how to detect this type of cancer. “Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in the United States,” said David Price, M.D., a new urologist in Lufkin. “Although the cause of prostate cancer is not known, there are several risk factors, including age, race and family history that may increase the likelihood of someone developing this disease.”
According to Dr. Price, there are two tests that are commonly used to detect prostate cancer. A simple blood test measures the level of PSA, which may be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The second screening is a DRE (digital rectal exam) in which the prostate gland is examined for size, shape, and hardness. It is recommended that men discuss with their doctors the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening.
Longview’s Mayor, Jay Dean, knows first hand the importance of being screened for prostate cancer—a screening that should begin at the age of 45 for most men. “I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May of this year during my annual physical,” said Mr. Dean. “When compared to results from the previous year, my PSA (prostate specific antigen) was elevated.”
“After my primary care physician diagnosed me with prostate cancer I was referred to a specialist to discuss my options. One plan of care was having my prostate surgically removed utilizing the da Vinci High Definition Robot. After researching surgeons and hospitals that specialized in this fairly new technology with positive outcomes, I made the decision to make a trip to Lufkin to have Dr. Price and his team of robotic specialists at Memorial Medical Center—Lufkin perform my procedure,” said Mr. Dean.
It has been proven that robotic surgery can shorten a patient’s recovery period, improve quality of life for most men and decrease hospital stay following the procedure. Additionally, the procedure results in significant less blood loss when compared to traditional open prostatectomies.
“In addition to the benefits of robotic surgery, I learned that Dr. Price was one of the pioneers for robotic prostatectomies and had performed more than 700 of them. That along with Memorial’s experienced robotics’ team gave me the confidence I needed to push forth with the surgery.”
According to hospital spokeswoman, Yana Ogletree, Memorial Medical Center--Lufkin was one of the first hospitals in Texas to acquire the da Vinci High Definition Robotic Surgery System. “This state-of-the-art technology provides surgeons with an alternative to both traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy. Using robotic controls, which manipulate surgical instruments at the operating table, a surgeon can precisely maneuver instruments allowing experienced surgeons a wider degree of motion to perform an operation,” said Ms. Ogletree.
“By putting a surgeon’s hands at the controls of the da Vinci Robotic platform, surgeons can perform even the most complex and delicate procedures through very small incisions with unmatched precision. This means less pain and a quicker recovery time,” she said.
Mr. Dean’s surgery was successful. In fact, he was walking 2-3 hours following the procedure. He stayed one night in the hospital and virtually had no side effects. “I went back to the gym within two weeks of my surgery and today I feel 100 percent better!” Said Mr. Dean.
Recently, Mr. Dean reached out to the people of Longview and wrote a Letter to the Editor urging men to get their annual prostate screenings. In his letter he openly shared his battle with prostate cancer and the remarkable recovery he made thanks to annual screenings, a fantastic health care team and the latest in technology—the DaVinci High Definition Robot.
An Open Letter from Longview’s Mayor
Posted: Saturday, July 30, 2011
Today I would like to address the men in our community who are 50 years and older about a sensitive subject. I want to urge you to have an annual exam and PSA screening for prostate cancer. Statistics show that 80 percent of men who reach the age of 80 years old will have the disease.
During my annual physical this year in May, and thanks to the watchful eye of my physician, Dr. George Saikin, he discovered a moderate rise in my PSA screening compared to past years. He scheduled an appointment for me with local urologist Dr. Greg Edwards. After a round of antibiotics and inflammatory medicines, Dr. Edwards performed a biopsy which confirmed that I had an early stage of prostate cancer.
We coordinated a plan for treating this situation and on July 11, I underwent surgery with Dr. David Price, one of the great young robotics surgeons in this region—and the state. My results showed that we caught this in the very early stages and I thank the Lord for this outcome.
I reveal this very personal medical situation because I want you to know that I am on my way to full recovery from this procedure. I also want to use this experience to urge and encourage all men to be vigilant in watching for the signs associated with this disease. It is curable 85 to 95 percent of the time if caught early.
Again, I thank God for my positive outcome and I thank my friends and family who have offered many prayers for me. I ask for your prayers for me and for other men who have encountered this disease.
--Jay Dean has been mayor of Longview since 2005.