Undergoing prostate cancer surgery

June 18, 2009 3:22:03 PM PDT
Prostate cancer is most common in older men, usually 65 years and up. Doctors say it's a slow growing cancer and most cases are treatable because typically, the cancer is found with routine screening tests before it can spread. But still, the diagnosis can be a daunting one for most men, especially when it comes time to have the cancerous prostate removed.

Yet many men, like Tom Hodgson take it in stride.

Tom and his wife June Hodgson arrived at Hackensack University Hospital early for a final round of tests and preparations.

"To me, it's not a big day," Tom said. "It's something you have to get done. You have to move on. I haven't thought about it since I was diagnosed back in March."

Tom's PSA level rose a full point in less than a year, prompting a biopsy that found cancer. The 61-year-old is in great health and admits he was surprised.

"You're in such good shape. How does that happen?" he asked. "But once you realize this is what you have, you say let's move forward and let's take care of it."

Even with Tom's strong will, his wife admits there was some reflection.

"We talked about the grandchildren," June Hodgson said. "I love them. You just talk about family things."

When Tom was wheeled into surgery, doctors quickly prepped him for robotic surgery, which has become a specialty at the medical center.

Everything was closely monitored using 3D magnifying glasses and carefully cauterizing the area around the prostate, making sure nerves were untouched, arteries were sealed and veins clamped.

Tom's prostate was removed without any complications. After surgery, doctors shared the good news with Tom's wife, telling her everything went according to plan.

When Tom woke up in recovery, he was in some pain.

"It's just discomfort," he said. "It's just ah, it's like ah, I feel like I'm at Giants Stadium and I have to go to the bathroom, but there is a line."

After resting a few days, Tom can expect to get back to moderate activity.

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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