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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

Jerry Choder, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Since my heart attack in 1990 and bypass surgery in 1993, I have been very health conscious. As you can see, I place major emphasis on a low-fat diet and exercise.

In the spring of 2001 I was told by my urologist to have a prostate biopsy because of low but rising PSA. Panic! My wife and I made library and web searches and used personal contacts to learn about prostate biopsy. The subsequent biopsy showed a very small area of moderate-grade cancer and I was told to have several tests performed and come back in a month for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. More panic!

We searched for the medical test facilities with the shortest delays and managed to have the fateful meeting in three weeks. All the results indicated that the cancer had not spread. Good, but now I was a candidate for treatment by radiation or surgery, but not for watchful waiting. My urologist, a surgeon in the Philadelphia area, recommended surgery and suggested looking into the laparoscopic procedure. He suggested taking two months to evaluate the alternatives.

I hurriedly made appointments with radiologists and with surgeons for additional opinions. A radiologic oncologist recommended surgery, but there was a six-week wait for appointments with prominent surgeons in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Web searches for LRP information led me to a French web site and then to Dr. Krongrad.

I called various sources for information, with limited success. My wife and I were impressed that Dr. Krongrad called back personally, and answered questions. Yes, I could be a candidate for LRP. Yes, I could set up a date for surgery. Yes, there were several patients who would share their experiences with me!

I continued meeting more local doctors for additional opinions, and they all recommended surgery. I spoke extensively with some of Dr. Krongrad's patients who had LRP. Though the prospects of the normal side effects of any of the options were very difficult to accept, the reduced short-term trauma offered by LRP helped me to firm up a decision. When I decided to go to Florida for LRP, my panic subsided.

I was walking around the hospital room on the evening of the surgery, and checked out of the hospital the next day. We stayed at the Beach House Hotel in Bal Harbor and flew back home a week later. As the nurse told me before the LRP, compared to coronary bypass surgery, the LRP is a piece of cake.
Jerry Choder - Pennsylvania