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El Camino Hospital and Me

Charlie's Story: Prostate Health

During a routine medical visit, Charlie, 65, had his prostate-specific antigen PSA level tested to check for prostate cancer or other prostate problems.

"My PSA was high—I scored a 9.0—so they referred me to a urologist," says Charlie, who went to see Edward Karpman, MD, a urologist with the Men's Health Program at El Camino Hospital Los Gatos.

"Dr. Karpman first did a tissue biopsy for prostate cancer and measured my urinary flow, then I had a cystoscopy."

In a cystoscopy, a urologist looks for a narrowing of the urethra where it passes through the prostate gland; if a narrowing is found, it can indicate an enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).

"My biopsy was negative for prostate cancer, fortunately," explains Charlie, "but I did have BPH, which tends to run in my family."

Dr. Karpman recommended that Charlie have a laser procedure known as GreenLight™ XPS to remove Charlie's excess prostate tissue. (During the Greenlight XPS procedure, the doctor inserts a very thin fiber into the urethra to deliver laser energy directly to the prostate.)

"I had noticed that the effects of BPH were worsening over time, so I knew I needed to schedule my treatment soon."

One common symptom with BPH is that it can make it more difficult to urinate. In Charlie's case, sometimes he wouldn't be able to urinate at all or had to wait a considerable amount of time until he could finally empty his bladder.

"I had to be careful about how much iced tea I would have with my meals—and I love iced tea, so that wasn't easy."

With Greenlight, patients go home with a catheter after discharge.

"With the catheter, it was a bit hard to sleep, but I managed OK," says Charlie. "I went in two days later to have the catheter removed."

On that same visit, Dr. Karpman gave Charlie a urinary test and Charlie was told he had a "perfect" score. "Dr. Karpman was absolutely thrilled!"

Today, Charlie is back to his normal self again and couldn't be happier. "Everything works fine—just like it did 10 or 20 years ago."

Charlie, thank you for sharing your story and we wish you the best!