Early Detection

Carolyn and Bob Peterson know what a difference cancer screening makes

After years of diligently getting an annual physical, Bob Peterson was shocked to discover in 2010 that his prostatespecific antigen (PSA) level was elevated. Several tests later, Bob was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “I thoroughly investigated all of my treatment options and decided to have robotic surgery with Dr. Abaza at The James,” recalls Bob.

Grateful for his own successful outcome, Bob can’t help but think about those less fortunate than himself. “There are so many men who would get the PSA test every year, as most doctors recommend, if they had the means to do so,” Bob says. “Many men don’t have insurance, or they have an insurance plan that won’t cover the cost of the PSA test.” Inspired by this, the Petersons have made a generous gift to The James. A portion of their gift will help provide research on prostate cancer, and prostate cancer screenings to those that would otherwise not have the means to be tested.

The Petersons are so impressed with the robotic surgery Bob had performed by Ronney Abaza, MD, that they feel it is important to educate physicians on how to use the robots so more patients can benefit like Bob did. Robotic surgery results in quicker recovery times and a decreased chance of infection and other surgery-related complications. The robotic surgery simulator purchased with the Petersons’ gift will provide training opportunities for residents and other physicians, so they can practice and become experienced with the robot before performing surgery on a patient.

“I didn’t have a family history of prostate cancer — now I do,” Bob says. “Up to the time I was diagnosed, I didn’t have any symptoms.” Now, he makes sure his sons get a PSA test yearly beginning at age 40 and has encouraged his friends to take their health seriously by keeping up with annual physicals. “It’s easy to fall into the trap of only going to the doctor once you are sick, but prevention is key,” Carolyn says.

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