Mark’s Story: Treating Prostate Cancer with Robotic Surgery

As a retired funeral director with a family history of cancer, Mark Razanauskas has a unique perspective on life and death. At age 61, he got a call letting him know that his annual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening results came back elevated. “I just knew in my gut it was cancer,” he says.

Mark had been living with an enlarged prostate for several years and made sure to go in for yearly PSA screenings through his primary care provider. After getting his elevated PSA results, he met with Roy Scott Cooper, DO, a urologist at Lakeview Urologic Surgeons in Erie.

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Advanced Imaging Services and Robotic Surgery

Mark underwent a 3T MRI scan. A 3T MRI scan is an advanced imaging technology that scans faster than regular MRIs.

Its clearer images allow for a precise diagnosis of prostate cancer and other conditions. Mark got his 3T MRI at UPMC Hamot.

The scan revealed a significant lesion.

Dr. Cooper performed a fusion biopsy. This combines 3T MRI results with ultrasound to create a 3D image of the prostate.

The imaging this produced allowed him to accurately pinpoint areas of affected tissue. Dr. Cooper recommended surgical treatment without radiation based on Mark’s age and biopsy results.

Mark’s robotic right nerve-sparing prostatectomy involved small incisions. Dr. Cooper used special surgical techniques to preserve bowel, bladder, and erectile function. This helped Mark to maintain a good quality of life even though some nerves and lymph nodes needed removing.

Overall, Mark’s recovery was relatively quick. “I only took pain medicine the first two days after surgery and over-the-counter medicine for mild pain after that,” he says. “The staff at UPMC Hamot was tremendous, and I think the world of Dr. Cooper. My experience has been nothing but positive.”

You’re Not Alone

Mark wants other patients to know it’s OK to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience.

“As a man, sometimes you feel you need to get through things like this alone,” he says. “But I wish I had shared earlier what I was going through back when I was diagnosed.”

Dr. Cooper recommends that people ask their doctors about support groups. “There are many options available to talk to other people who are on the same journey,” he says.

About UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

When you are facing cancer, you need the best care possible. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, with more than 200 oncologists – making it easier for you to find world-class care close to home. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment. Most of all, we are here for you. Our patient-first approach aims to provide you and your loved ones the care and support you need. To find a provider near you, visit our website.