As a young reporter in 1999, Todd Shields wrote about many advances in the medical field, including the groundbreaking da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. He even saw it demonstrated at medical conventions. Never did he imagine that, nine years later, it would save his life.
For years doctors reminded Todd, like all men, to get a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test when he turned 50. PSA tests are one of the best ways to check for prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer in American men. Todd listened and got his first PSA test that year. Lucky for him he didn't wait a minute longer.
Todd's PSA levels were elevated. After a biopsy, Dr. James Kim, a surgeon from Northwest Urological Associates who practices at Northwest Community Hospital, called with the results. He had prostate cancer. On a scale of 1 to 10, Todd's cancer was a 7. "You have moderate level prostate cancer. At your age, 50, that's too high," said Dr. Kim. "Waiting another six months or more may have meant real trouble for you," he added.
There was good news: the cancer had not spread to surrounding areas, making Todd a good candidate for minimally invasive da Vinci Robotic surgery. The da Vinci system would provide Dr. Kim with greater surgical precision and increased visual magnification inside the patient. For Todd, it offered faster recovery, less chance of infection and less blood loss.
In April 2008, Dr. Kim expertly manipulated the da Vinci's robotic arms equipped with surgical instruments to remove Todd's prostate. There were no large incisions. Other than an unusual episode of bleeding, Todd recovered quickly and has had a clean bill of health in all his quarterly post-surgery checkups.
On a Sunday afternoon the following summer, Todd attended the annual Cancer Survivor Celebration hosted by NCH. As he wrote in an article on his personal cancer journey, Todd now enjoys a renewed appreciate for life and a "kinship only those defeating a fatal disease can understand." He also credits Dr. Kim and the da Vinci system for giving him his life back.
Concerned about prostate cancer? Take our 12-Question Quiz now to find out your risk. You can also call HealthConnection at 847.618.4YOU (4968) to order your FREE Men's Health Guide—packed with lots of ways to keep yourself and your prostate healthy.
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