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El Camino Hospital and Me

Jim's Story: Robotic Prostatectomy

During a routine physical in 2010, Jim's doctor detected a possible prostate abnormality, and referred Jim to a urologist for further examination. A biopsy revealed Jim had early-stage prostate cancer.

Since Jim was only in his 50s, he wanted the cancer treated as soon as possible, so he could return to work and put the worries of a cancer diagnosis behind him. Jim's urologist, Frank Lai, MD, reviewed the treatment options with Jim.

"Although I didn't know a lot about robotic surgery at the time, surgery seemed to be the best option for me," recalls Jim.

Dr. Lai is one of several El Camino Hospital urologists trained in the use of the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, which allows doctors to operate by controlling tiny medical instruments via a computer console. Surgeries performed with da Vinci typically involve just a few small incisions and a quicker recovery, with fewer side effects from surgery.

"After the surgery, I was back to work in a couple of days," says Jim, who maintains a hectic schedule as a corporate executive at a large Bay Area company.

The surgery, known as a robotic prostatectomy, was a success, and follow-up tests showed that Jim's cancer margins were negative.

"I had no lingering side effects from surgery," says Jim, who is grateful to be back to his normal routine, which includes running 25 miles a week and working out at the gym. Although Jim continues to see Dr. Lai for regular checkups, he is hopeful that his cancer is gone for good.

Jim also notes that it's important to talk to family members about prostate cancer and encourage relatives to get tested (both Jim's father and one of his brothers had the disease). Jim also says he would recommend the surgery to other men, if it is appropriate for them.

Thanks, Jim, for sharing your prostate cancer story with us!