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Prostate Surgery Offers Option for Cancer Diagnosis

March 25, 2024

John Stanat realized how good it felt to sleep uninterrupted by pain almost immediately after prostate surgery in early 2023.

A Broad Brook resident who had worked as a financial advisor until the COVID-19 pandemic closed many businesses, Stanat says his primary care provider had been watching his prostate specific antigen (PSA) level slowly rise for several years. Around 2018, the provider even suggested he get a biopsy of the prostate to check for cancer, but he ignored the advice.

Last year, when his PSA level had become too high to overlook, he followed his doctor’s advice and went for a biopsy, which revealed he had prostate cancer. The diagnosis left him with two options: surgery or radiation.

“I went to see Dr. Katz, who was really good about answering all of my questions and explaining the options to me, but leaving the decision up to me,” says the 64-year-old of Eric Katz, MD, a urologist with the Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute in Farmington and West Hartford.

Before deciding, however, he also met with a radiation oncologist to see what that approach would entail.

“The radiologist directed me back to Dr. Katz for surgery because of my age,” Stanat explains.

Generally, Dr. Katz says surgery may be favored for younger, healthier patients, as they are able to heal faster and avoid the potential long-term side effects of radiation.

In late January 2023, Stanat had a robotic radical prostatectomy at Hartford Hospital, the first time in his life he had been under general anesthesia.

“From the time they started, it seems like I blinked my eye and felt great!” Stanat says. “It went really well and I actually felt well rested.”

As a born-again Christian, he says he did not fear the possibility of dying from the cancer, but he did worry about leaving his wife, three stepdaughters and grandchildren. Meeting with Dr. Katz, however, left him feeling calm and assured that it was the right decision.

“He just has a way about him – the way he talks. I had a lot of confidence in him. He’s a very bright young man and spoke with great confidence and knowledge,” Stanat says.

Eight months later, he is still undergoing pelvic floor physical therapy to strengthen muscles near the surgical area, which are important for resolving incontinence after surgery, but has noticed that he has no trouble urinating – something he never mentioned to his providers but feels “it now makes sense” that the prostate was slowing urine flow – and sleeping much better.

“I’m trying to get back to my regular life, doing yard work, things like that,” he says. “And I’d like to get back to work.”