Alan Davis – da Vinci Prostatectomy Success Story

da Vinci hits a hole in one – robotic surgery at Methodist Dallas wins against prostate cancer for Alan Davis

Alan Davis – da Vinci Prostatectomy Success StoryFor many men with prostate cancer, the diagnosis is part of their genetic history. In other words, it just runs in the family. Studies have found that having a father or brother who's had prostate cancer more than doubles a man's risk of developing this disease. Unfortunately, Alan Davis is no exception.

"My father died from prostate cancer in 1992 when I was 49," says the Plano resident. "Shortly after that, I started getting annual prostate exams and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. People like my father didn't have those tests. By the time he felt really bad and found out he had cancer, it was too far gone."

But regular testing did pay off for Davis years later.

"When my PSA showed up really high, we did the biopsy and it came out positive for cancer," says the 68-year-old. "I was feeling good at the time and had no health problems that I was aware of, but you don't always see or feel signs of prostate cancer."

Choosing the right course

Knowing the disease was in his family was one thing. Knowing that he now had it was quite another.

"It took a long time to face that I had cancer," Davis says earnestly. "My wife and I considered lots of options. I waffled between surgery and radiation for several weeks."

For Davis, surgery was the right choice.

"If you do radiation, it has to get it all, and it feels like there's no fallback – nothing else to go to," Davis explains. "I always like to have a fallback plan. With surgery, I felt like I could follow up with radiation if needed.

"We found a lot about da Vinci® robotic surgery on the Internet. Our research said if you're going to have surgery, robotic was less invasive and healed faster to let you get back to where you were as quickly as possible. So we started looking around for experienced doctors."

In his research, David read about R. Carrington Mason, DO, an independently practicing urologist on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, featured among the "Best Docs in Dallas" inD Magazine.

"Dr. Mason was experienced in the da Vinci procedure, but equally important was that he was a prostate cancer survivor himself and could empathize with me, could understand where I was and where I was going," Davis says. "We liked his manner, his directness and candidness. I really liked the service and the professionalism of Dr. Mason and Michael White, his physician assistant. They were understanding and compassionate."

Dr. Mason says the da Vinci Surgical System is ideal for delicate urologic surgery, including prostatectomy.

"The target cancer site is not only tightly confined but also surrounded by nerves aff ecting urinary control and sexual function," Dr. Mason says. "Robotic technology gives us a better tool to spare surrounding nerves, which results in improved cancer control and a faster return to potency and continence."

Back in the swing of things

da Vinci Prostatectomy Success StoryDavis had da Vinci prostate surgery in January at Methodist Dallas and remembers the good feeling when Dr. Mason told him the edges of the prostate were clean and, three weeks later, that his PSA test came out clean as well. Five weeks after surgery, Davis could hit golf balls, return to his daily walks, and go back to the gym.

An active retired airline vice president, Davis and his wife, Pat, love to travel, go to the movies, read, walk their dogs, and chase after six busy grandchildren.

"I feel the best I've felt in a very long time," Davis says. "I feel great. I walk two miles every day and golf three or four times a week."

He strongly recommends prostate screening as part of an annual medical exam for any man and has emphasized testing to his son because of their family history of the disease.

"Get tested. If you catch it early and treat it properly, it's not a big deal," he says."When all is said and done, what really matters is to be cancer-free."