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da Vinci Prostatectomy Patient, Joel Berman

"With the nerve-sparing precision of the robotic procedure... everything is totally back to normal"

Joel Berman #2When Groton resident Joel Berman discovered he had prostate cancer in December 2008, he was shocked. 

"I'd had a normal PSA test earlier that year," the then-61-year-old recalls. But he began getting up more often at night to go to the bathroom and had a slow stream, so his doctor ordered another PSA test as part of his diagnostic workup. 

"My PSA number had jumped up," Berman says. A subsequent biopsy revealed he had cancer. 

"I went over the treatment options with my doctor," he says. "They included radioactive seed implants, daily radiation for six weeks, or surgery. For me, surgery was by far the best option because the cancer had been detected early, it was confined to the prostate and I was otherwise in good health."

Joel Berman #1The surgery Berman had was a robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy, a minimally invasive procedure in which the entire prostate is removed. 

"My two biggest fears about surgery were that I would lose bladder control and sexual function," he admits. "But with the nerve-sparing precision of the robotic procedure, those side effects aren't that common. And everything is totally back to normal," he adds. 

"It was uncomfortable for a couple of weeks after surgery, but certainly not painful." Berman says of the recovery period. He was back at work in about three weeks. "I had to wait about six weeks before any exertion like shoveling snow," he notes. "And the tiny incisions healed quickly."

And his prognosis? Joel Berman #3

"I wanted to see if I could increase my life insurance or get long-term care insurance after having prostate cancer and this treatment," Berman says. "And the cool thing is that a year after surgery, I was completely eligible. The insurance companies consider me cured."

"I urge men to get their PSA tests regularly," he adds. "And I strongly recommend Lowell General for this type of surgery." 

Joel traveling in Italy

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