Ed's Story - Robotic-assisted prostatectomy

Ed Evans, Robotic-assistedProstatectomy Patient

Robotic-assisted rostatectomy at UCLA

Robots Advance the Reach of Urologic Surgeons | UCLA Vital Signs

UCLA urologist Robert Reiter, MD - Surgeons increasingly are using robotic surgery to operate on patients, resulting in less blood loss, less pain and faster recovery. Since 2003, UCLA urologic surgeons have performed more than 3,000 procedures robotically to treat prostate, bladder and kidney cancer. View Video >

Early diagnosis makes all the difference for prostate cancer survivor Ed Evans

It was a routine, annual checkup for Ed Evans. His blood pressure and cholesterol levels were normal. Ed exercised regularly and watched his diet, so physically he was in great shape. Everything looked fine, until his blood work came back. The doctor explained that Ed’s PSA levels were dangerously high. That Spring afternoon in 2012, Ed learned that he had prostate cancer.

"When my physician, Dr. Rose saw that my PSA number was unusually high, he referred me to a local urologist who tested my PSA number a week later and it was conclusive with Dr. Rose's findings. That was the day I discovered I had prostate cancer. A week later the urologist scheduled a biopsy to detect cancer cells, the cause of the PSA rising and the extent of the tumor and Gleason score".

It seemed like an impossible diagnosis for a healthy man in his mid-40s, but statistics show that African American men are twice as likely to develop the disease than Caucasian men. Suddenly, Ed was one of approximately 192,000 men in the U.S. who would find out they had prostate cancer that year. Doctors let Ed know that a prostatectomy, the removal of the prostate, would possibly be his best option. With a number of surgical prostate cancer treatments to consider, Ed’s wife, Menaka, insisted on finding a urologic surgeon that was not only experienced, but had a passion for what he did and was an active prostate cancer researcher. Their search had taken them across the country, but it was an appointment with UCLA Urology, just miles from their Los Angeles home, that led them to Dr. Robert Reiter.

Dr. Robert Reiter, Director, UCLA Prostate Cancer Treatment & Research Center

“Menaka suggested we seek out the best surgeon,” Ed said. “We wanted to find someone who was really immersed in the research and that this was their life’s focus. We wanted to be sure that there was nothing routine about it for the doctor. We found that in Dr. Reiter.”

A renowned prostate cancer researcher and urologic oncologist, Dr. Reiter balances patient care with cutting edge research. While the Evans were pleased to learn about his extensive experience in open and robotic prostatectomy, they were equally interested in his research that ranges from the use of molecular imaging for guided biopsies to aid in prostate cancer diagnosis to his focus on studying new drug combination therapies as an aid to prostatectomy patients.

Soon Ed was at UCLA going through a battery of tests, from x-rays and CT scans to blood work and lots of injections. Through testing, Ed found out that his cancer was contained to the prostate. “It was a relief to find out that the cancer was contained and that it could be removed.” After long discussions with Dr. Reiter, the Evans decided a robotic-assisted prostatectomy was the best surgical solution for Ed. This minimally-invasive procedure would allow the prostate to be removed, while also minimizing blood loss and recovery time.

Ed and his wife, Menaka

“The good thing was that I had a lot of support from my family and close friends. It was a lot of praying and a lot of faith since my diagnosis. My father-in-law, who lived through multiple heart surgeries starting in his mid-40s, told me to stay positive. So, the day of my surgery, I stayed upbeat knowing the surgery would be a successful one.” “I knew the cancer hadn’t spread, I knew that my wife and I had done our research well and that I would be fine. I was ecstatic knowing Dr. Reiter and his team removed my prostate and I could start my recovery. The cancer was gone,” Ed explained.

Ed was in the hospital for a few days and continued his prostatectomy recovery at home for a few more weeks. He was up and walking just a few hours after surgery. Within a week, he started feeling more like himself. "It was very uncomfortable sleeping and I Iost my appetite at home, post surgery. I was dealing with a bladder and urethra that had to heal. After a week, I went back to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Dr. Reiter and his staff performed an in-office procedure, cleared me to resume my day-to-day activities and I felt like my normal self"

Now on the road to recovery, Ed has to see Dr. Reiter every 3 months to make sure his PSA stays at undetectable levels. The Evans' are extremely hopeful the PSA number will remain the same and after 2017, Ed will only see Dr. Reiter once a year. The Evans are looking forward to their next adventures, which may include starting a family this year. Television writer-producer is currently developing sitcoms and writing a feature. Ed has written for "Hannah Montana", "That's SO Raven", "Cory In The House", "Kicking It", "Even Stevens" and series on Fox, The WB and TVOne.

“I give a lot of credit to my doctor, Dr. Rose, because he was so thorough. He went beyond a regular exam and looked at my PSA level, which was the catalyst to go to the urologist. I never knew that, in my mid-40s, I would be facing prostate cancer. My hope is that men realize they can be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a younger age and early detection is the key to treating and beating this disease.”