Bladder Cancer | Robotic Cystectomy/Prostatectomy and Creation of Urinary Diversion Using Intestines
In November 2017, I was diagnosed with stage 2 bladder cancer. The first sign was blood in my urine. My general practitioner referred me to urologist Dr. Mark Vogel who ordered a CT scan that revealed a cancerous growth in my bladder. We were hoping it was on the peripheral edge of the bladder, but unfortunately it infiltrated the muscle wall where it was also precariously close to my prostate and lymph nodes.
Dr. Vogel referred me to Dr. Ramin who when I met with him was very real about the situation, but was also extremely kind and empathetic. I can remember him looking me in the eye and telling me that I will have a complete life, but with some minor adjustments. The way he conducted himself and talked to my wife and I, we thought he was the perfect surgeon for my case. However, I didn't stop there. I also researched Dr. Ramin extensively online and what I found further validated what we thought after our first meeting – that there are no better hands for me to put my life in than his.
After undergoing three chemotherapy sessions, Dr. Ramin successfully performed a robot-assisted cystectomy (removal of entire bladder) and prostatectomy with an ileal conduit (a system of urinary drainage which a surgeon creates using the small intestine after removing the bladder) in May 2018. During my one week stay in the hospital, Dr. Ramin routinely checked in with me. It made me feel like I wasn't just a number on his dance card. He saw and treated me as a human being.
During this entire process, Dr. Ramin and his staff were on top of everything. He's been a kind and generous man – asking me how I am feeling both emotionally and physically. Thanks to Dr. Ramin and the great support that I have received from my family and friends, I know that everything will be just fine.
Ed| Enlarged Prostate | Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Subtotal Prostatectomy
I suffered from an enlarged prostate for many years that caused me to urinate two to four times a night. Being fairly active, it dictated what I could do and where I could it because I was always searching for the nearest restroom.
I began taking medication for the condition, but it wasn't the long term answer to achieving the quality of life I truly desired. In July 2018, things came to a head when I experienced severe urinary retention that necessitated a trip to the ER. Soon after, I visited my trusted urologist Dr. Ramin who calmly and thoroughly explained to me my options for resolving my enlarged prostate, which was now four times the normal size.
I had a prostate that was so large that it would not respond to more commonly performed procedures like resection or laser. So Dr. Ramin recommended a robotic-assisted laparoscopic subtotal prostatectomy, where only the enlarged portion of the prostate is removed, with the rest being kept intact. I was very comfortable with my decision because Dr. Ramin is very passionate about what he does and truly cares about his patients. Both before and leading up to the procedure, he spent time answering all of my questions.
Dr. Ramin successfully performed the procedure in October 2018, and I was resting comfortably at home just two days later. Today, I don't have to worry about where a restroom is when I go out, and I feel great knowing that this will not be an issue moving forward or that it will ever return.
Dr. Ramin and his staff are fantastic! I couldn't have asked for anything and anyone better.
Jason N. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
The symptoms of my condition began in 2013, approximately 1.5 years before I finally had it repaired by Dr. Ramin. It was a long journey, but I am so glad that it went exactly the way that it did.
A few years ago, I began to notice my left testicle had developed an extremely veiny appearance and was sagging significantly lower than the right testicle. It was also painful, though I wouldn’t realize just how much it actually hurt until Dr. Ramin fixed it and I became pain-free.
In the beginning, a visit to my physician at the time resulted in a diagnosis of varicocele, a condition that involves enlargement of the veins inside the scrotum. I was told it was a straightforward condition to fix and was originally scheduled to have a surgical procedure to fix it in late 2013, but I didn’t fully trust the first surgeon I saw. In 2014, when the Affordable Care Act kicked in, my PPO plan from my private insurance was cancelled and I was thrown into the new system.
I began extensive research online for doctors in my area that dealt with my condition and took my new insurance. I knew I wanted the best physician I could find to take care of me. All of my research pointed me in the direction of Dr. Ramin. His background, extensive knowledge of male urology, and high praise from patients made him my clear choice. When it came to insurance and coverage, every move I made from that point on was with the goal of seeing Dr. Ramin in mind.
My first visit with Dr. Ramin went exactly the way I had hoped it would. We talked at great length about the varicocele and the treatment Dr. Ramin recommended – a laparoscopic spermatic vein ligation. Dr. Ramin was extremely knowledgeable and I was very impressed at how he took the time to carefully explain his recommendations. He was comforting and confident at the same time, and he had answers for all of my questions. I had no doubt in my mind that I had chosen the right doctor.
The day of my procedure went as I expected with no surprises. My recovery was great and I truly felt like a new man. That nagging pain went away and the way I dreamt of feeling for so long was finally a reality.
Even though he was able to fix the varicocele, waiting so long for surgery with my condition stretched the skin to the point where I required another surgery to remove the excess skin. Dr. Ramin was confident he could do it, so I went ahead and had the surgery with him. Once everything healed, it changed my life completely. I felt amazing physically, my libido and general energy increased, and I felt more alive than ever before.
Several months later, I had an unfortunate accident that brought my varicocele back. I am currently waiting on a third surgery with Dr. Ramin. I have the utmost confidence that I am in the right place and with the right doctor.
I truly have Dr. Ramin to thank for where I am in my life with my health and I am excited to have what will hopefully be my last surgery with him.
Ron M. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
I didn't realize I had a prostate problem. I had just seen my doctor about six months before my diagnosis, and all appeared to be well. But some lab tests for a scheduled shoulder surgery months later came back with a PSA count as high as 18. To get to the bottom of exactly what was going on my physician referred me to Dr. Ramin for consultation.
Although he already had lab tests indicating my high PSA levels, Dr. Ramin was very thorough in his evaluation of me. He ordered a number of his own laboratory tests and they confirmed – I had prostate cancer. Once that diagnosis was made I had another very thorough consultation with Dr. Ramin, wherein he discussed with me all of the options available to treat my stage and type of prostate cancer. He told me that his expertise in the robotic surgical removal of prostate cancer and what he would do should that be the treatment choice I made. I appreciated that Dr. Ramin was very frank and upfront about my treatment options and he even encouraged me to seek out opinions from other physicians skilled in those other types of treatment. There was no pressure from him to choose the robotic prostatectomy that he recommended; he left that decision completely up to me.
During the course of my "homework" to decide which option I would choose, I considered the friends of mine who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer – some having survived it, others who didn't. Of those who didn't survive after treatment, I considered the treatments they underwent. And I spoke with the friends who had beaten prostate cancer. It was those who opted for prostate removal that had gone on to live active and healthy lives. My decision was made based on many of those conversations.
I had another appointment scheduled with Dr. Ramin to discuss my decision. I went in confident that robotic surgical removal of my prostate (and the cancer) was the right choice for me. Once I informed Dr. Ramin of my decision, he went into complete detail about what to expect from the surgery as well as the side effects experienced by most men who undergo it. Again he was thorough, direct and to-the-point.
On the day of my surgery in February of 2016, Dr. Ramin had prepared me with exactly what to expect. And everything went as Dr. Ramin said it would. He skillfully removed my prostate and was confident that the operation went well. But still I was shocked at just how well it went. I was only in the hospital for a day-and-a-half before I was released to recover at home. I experienced the few side effects that Dr. Ramin prepared me for and the timeline for the resolution of those side effects has gone even better than the one he prepared me with.
At my latest post-operation appointment, my PSA was non-detectable – a very good sign. My functions continue to restore and life today is very good. As the wonderful friends of mine advised me, my advice to the men out there who are weighing the "best" prostate cancer treatment options for them is this – Don't hesitate. Call Dr. Ramin. Get it done well and get on with your life.
Peter W. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
My prostate cancer diagnosis arrived as the result of a consistently elevated and rising PSA level over the course of nine months. My urologist at the time recommended a biopsy as the elevating PSA level was a potential indicator for cancer. While I understood his recommendations were probably sound, I was uncomfortable with him and with his staff. I decided to search elsewhere for a urologist in whom I could trust and feel comfortable with the treatment recommendations.
My research began online and it led me right away to Dr. Ramin. I read each piece of literature I could find about him and reviewed his website in great detail. I was convinced he was the right physician to treat me. Everything about my first visit with Dr. Ramin was positive. From the cleanliness of his office and equipment to the helpfulness of his staff, I truly believed I had come to the right place. But once I met Dr. Ramin, I was certain.
In my initial consultation with him, after thoroughly reviewing my records, Dr. Ramin said he was 85% sure I had prostate cancer but that a biopsy was required to confirm these suspicions. Dr. Ramin explained the biopsy procedure to me and it went exactly as he said it would. Upon receiving my results, he sat down with my wife and I in his office and confirmed our worries – I had prostate cancer.
I didn’t despair, because we then went into a discussion of all of my treatment options. In my case, Dr. Ramin said I was a great candidate for complete removal of my prostate using the da Vinci robotic prostatectomy. I already knew that Dr. Ramin was an expert in performing this procedure because I had done so much research about him prior to selecting him as my urologist. Nonetheless, he explained every detail of the procedure to me, the recovery time, possible complications and risk factors. He walked me through every step of what the process would entail. He took his time, was patient with my questions and made me feel completely comfortable.
I wasn’t as nervous as I could have been heading into the day of my procedure because Dr. Ramin had explained everything so well to me. And I was not surprised when I discovered that everything had happened exactly the way he said it would. I was so well taken care of by Dr. Ramin and the hospital staff and he visited me multiple times after the procedure.
My recovery has gone as expected and I am happy to say that after my last PSA test, just six weeks post-surgery, I am cancer-free. At the appointment where I got this wonderful news, I took a photo with Dr. Ramin and posted it to my Facebook page for my friends and family to see – this man is my lifesaver. Now I’m ready to get back to living my active life and enjoying my retirement.
Steve E. | BPH and Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
Issues with my prostate health actually began when my markedly large prostate started causing me urinary retention issues and an inability to urinate properly. At the time, the urologist whom had been caring for me for years prescribed a catheter because I could not urinate freely. I wore the catheter miserably, for months.
When I began asking the urologist what more could be done to resolve my urinary and enlarged prostate issues so that I no longer needed the catheter, I didn’t get helpful answers or a resolution. That’s when I began looking for other options and I found Dr. Ramin.
Upon meeting with Dr. Ramin for the first time, I knew my urological care was finally in the right hands. After a complete medical history and appropriate tests, Dr. Ramin found that I was suffering from BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). As part of his very thorough examination, Dr. Ramin also performed a biopsy of my prostate, something my previous urologist had never done.
The biopsy results came back positive for prostate cancer. I discovered that not only did I have a markedly enlarged prostate that was blocking my urination, but early stage prostate cancer. At the time, I was deciding between procedure that would only treat my enlarged prostate, while keeping my cancer under observation or a procedure that would cure my cancer and cure my urinary retention. Dr. Ramin carefully educated me at length on the risks and benefits of each option. In my particular case, my markedly enlarged prostate required a partial prostatectomy and the cancer could be cured by a total prostatectomy. Dr. Ramin indicated the best possible results may be achieved via a robotic total prostatectomy. This would ‘kill two birds with one stone’ — my enlarged prostate would be removed and my cancer would be removed with one surgery. I was confident in Dr. Ramin’s assessment and advice and underwent the robotic prostatectomy procedure in August of 2014.
The procedure itself went more smoothly than my wife or I could have ever expected. After just a one-day stay in the hospital, I was back at home recovering, walking up and down the stairs and driving in two to three days more. To say I was feeling good is a serious understatement. More than anything, I am so pleased with the results. Dr. Ramin was able to remove the entire prostate, cure me of cancer and to restore my urinary function so that I no longer needed the catheter.
Being restored to health I once thought was history is incredibly satisfying. Having experienced the negative side of urological care from another doctor, I can honestly say there is just something different about Dr. Ramin and his staff. From the way they treated me during a routine office visit to Dr. Ramin’s confidence and skill as a surgeon, my experience was everything it never was before. I highly recommend Dr. Ramin and his team.
Victor M. | Bladder Cancer and Prostate Cancer | Robotic Surgery
As the first person among my close family members to receive a cancer diagnosis, I was devastated. The good news is that I found Dr. Ramin right away. At the time, my consultation was for a potentially aggressive bladder cancer diagnosis. As is his way, Dr. Ramin carefully reviewed my medical history and intently listened to my personal account and thoughts on everything. Armed with these details, Dr. Ramin said in order to give me the best changes at survival and quality of life, he recommended removal of my bladder and reconstruction of it using portions of my intestine. If the cancer diagnosis wasn't devastating enough, I was also afraid and hesitant about this recommendation. After discussing it at length with my wife, I decided not to go with Dr. Ramin's treatment recommendations. If I have one regret on this cancer journey, it's that I didn't listen to Dr. Ramin the first time around.
Instead, I opted for drug therapy to treat the cancer, twice. The first round of drugs worked for a while, but the cancer came back. Then we tried another course of drug therapy and it came back then too. After that second failed round of drug therapy, I went back to Dr. Ramin for advice and counsel. The news I received then was even more difficult to hear than the first cancer diagnosis.
After multiple tests including a CT scan, my worst fears were confirmed. In addition to the recurrence of the bladder cancer, I was also diagnosed with prostate cancer and my lymph nodes were affected too.
But for every seemingly hopeless step of the way, Dr. Ramin remained steadfast in his commitment to caring for me and gave me hope that he could restore me to good health. This time, I listened.
In order to attempt surgery to remove my bladder, prostate and affected lymph nodes, I needed to first undergo eight grueling weeks of chemotherapy to shrink the tumors. In terms of side effects, this was the most difficult part of the cancer treatment process for me. But I am glad I did it. Results from tests conducted after my chemotherapy showed that the tumors had considerably shrunk and Dr. Ramin was confident that robotic surgery could successfully remove the remaining cancer. This was my first glimmer of hope in quite some time.
On August 12, 2013, Dr. Ramin performed a 14-hour surgery on me to remove my bladder and reconstruct it from portions of my intestine, remove my prostate and remove the affected lymph nodes. My entire family came to the hospital that day to support me and Dr. Ramin remained in frequent communication with them, assuring them that all was going well.
Dr. Ramin was right. He successfully removed all of the cancerous tissue and my recovery went far better than I expected it to.
Today, I am cancer free and feeling better than I have in years. Dr. Ramin has given me a new lease on life and I am sincerely grateful for that. He is truly the best there is, and I was told that by another doctor who treated me. I will continue to recommend him to all of my friends and family and can't say enough great things about this second chance he's given me.
John B. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
My prostate cancer story could be described as unusual by some. After spending 35 years in the construction industry, I've come to realize that the best construction guy isn't always the one in the hard hat.
My approach to prostate cancer treatment didn't start out on the path it does for many men. My father died from prostate cancer in 1993, so I was no stranger to the disease or to the possibility that I may develop it at some point in my life. And as one of eight siblings, several of whom have battled different cancer diagnoses over the years, I had at least some knowledge of what to expect. But it's different when it's you.
When I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007, I visited a prominent Boston urologist, among the foremost experts in the country for the HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) procedure, who said I was a good candidate for it because my cancer was still confined to the prostate gland. At the time, this was not a procedure covered by my insurance and I paid cash for it. In hindsight, I wish I had found Dr. Ramin first.
But, I proceeded with undergoing the HIFU procedure and all was well from 2007-2009. I was cancer free…for a while. But when my PSA levels began elevating again in late 2009, the physician practice that performed the original procedure was at times difficult to reach.
By September of 2012, my PSA was much higher. I had finally gotten in touch with the physician who had recommended the HIFU procedure and flew to Boston for him to perform an MRI and biopsy. The results from those examinations confirmed what was suspected: my prostate cancer had recurred. The physician who had originally recommended the HIFU procedure said he would do the procedure again at half price. I asked him if there were other alternatives, since it didn't work the first time. He told me there was one doctor who may be able to treat me in New York, but other than that, he was largely unhelpful.
Unsettled by the doctor's unwillingness to help me further, I started my own research online. And I found Dr. Ramin.
Since I don't live in the immediate area, Dr. Ramin made special accommodations to come into the office and see me on a Saturday. So my first impression, before even meeting him, was that he truly cares about people.
I brought my wife with me to the appointment and Dr. Ramin spent over an hour with us. My wife instantly took to his calm and assured disposition and so did I. After everything I had been through with the original failed HIFU procedure, I wanted to make sure that this time, all of the cancer would be removed and I wanted to be able to avoid the incontinence and erectile dysfunction issues I was concerned about all along. Dr. Ramin listened to my requests and concerns and said he was confident he could remove my cancer and keep my important functions intact.
I scheduled the surgery and everything went extremely well. From Dr. Ramin's skill and expertise in the operating room, to the care provided to me in the hospital during recovery, I can't say enough good things about this "second chance" choice I made.
I recovered quickly and have no incontinence issues as a result of Dr. Ramin's skill and technique. Best of all, I am cancer free. Based on my experience, I would never recommend the HIFU procedure. But I would most definitely recommend Dr. Ramin, any day. In fact, I already have to family and friends. He is that good.
Tim M. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
Once you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you tend to look back over your medical history and try to identify all of the times when you "should have" done something sooner. I guess there were a couple of instances where that was the case for me. I had been having my prostate exams for a few years before I was diagnosed and my levels continued to elevate. Like many men, I decided to wait on the biopsy. I waited for more than a year. But once I had another PSA test and the levels were even higher than the previous, I knew I couldn't wait any longer. I was referred to a Dr. Fisher by my family physician and he performed a biopsy of my prostate. The results revealed that I did indeed have prostate cancer. There were multiple malignant tumors and the cancer appeared to be of the aggressive variety. To simply say I wanted to get rid of it would be an understatement.
Upon my diagnosis, Dr. Fisher told me about Dr. Ramin. In fact, he called Dr. Ramin a "magician" and true expert at the removal of my type of prostate cancer. Dr. Ramin was local, which was a plus for me and based on the high recommendations from my trusted doctor, I made an appointment to see him. I brought my wife with me that day and after a detailed and informative consultation with Dr. Ramin, we decided that surgical removal of my tumors was the best option for me.
On the day of my surgery, Dr. Ramin and the staff at the hospital treated me wonderfully. Dr. Ramin saw me before the procedure and put me at ease – telling me he would take good care of me and that I was in the right hands. The surgery went well and my post-operative recovery in the hospital was also highlighted by frequent visits from Dr. Ramin to check on my well-being and to make sure I was healing properly. But I will never forget the sound of Dr. Ramin's voice when he delivered the news of the post-surgery results. He said "We got everything." My wife and I were thrilled.
I'm three years post-surgery now and I feel like Dr. Ramin and his office staff have become family friends. On my latest round of testing my PSA came back as "undetectable" and I am cancer-free. Dr. Ramin saved my life and I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for his skilled and compassionate care.
My advice to any man who needs to have PSA testing is: Don't wait. Have the testing done, get the biopsy done if you need it and when it comes time for treatment – get rid of it! I would never second guess my decision to go with Dr. Ramin or his treatment advice and I recommend him to any man who needs prostate cancer care.
Larry L. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
What's the simplest way to explain receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis? For me, it was like being hit over the head with a hammer. The urologist who diagnosed me said I was a good candidate for surgery, and casually included that I would need to pre-donate two pints of my own blood beforehand as the open approach he recommended was a "bloody surgery." I will never forget the words he used.
All things considered, I didn't jump at the recommended opportunity. Instead, I went back to my regular doctor whom I respected and had been seeing for years. I asked him what he thought of the urologist's recommendation and he told me: "If I were your brother, I would drive you straight to the hospital." In other words, he thought the cancer really needed surgery. To say I was devastated is an understatement.
But still, I was hesitant. I began talking to friends about the diagnosis and the only recommended "option." One friend encouraged me to get other opinions and gave me the advice to ask of the physicians I interviewed: How many prostate cancer surgeries have you performed? I was hopeful for the first time in a while because this advice gave me something to do – a yard stick of sorts to measure their expertise and compare it to the physicians I had met with.
My first meeting was with a urologist who specialized mostly in kidney procedures. I asked him how many prostate cancer surgeries he had performed over the course of his career and he said: not too many, about 70. It just didn't seem like enough to me and he didn't seem to have the expertise I thought was required of this delicate and intricate surgery. So I moved on.
That's when I found Dr. Ramin. I made my appointment to see him and at it he spent nearly two hours with me going over my tests, discussing my options and getting to know me. Based on our conversation, Dr. Ramin recommended the da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy and said I was a good candidate for the procedure because my cancer was still confined to the prostate. I then asked him the question I was prepared with through the advice from my friend: How many of these types of procedures have you performed? Dr. Ramin said five to seven per week for years. That answer, coupled with the time he spent with me and his confident but calm demeanor, gave me the confidence that I had found the right surgeon for me. I told him I was ready to proceed.
I then asked the question I had been dreading from the beginning: When will I need to pre-donate the blood for this surgery? Dr. Ramin looked at me a bit surprised at first, and then said there would be no need to do that. This approach to prostate cancer surgery isn't bloody. He also said he would leave me in the absolute best possible condition and free from cancer. I can't quite put into words what a relief that was to hear.
My surgery went exactly as Dr. Ramin had specifically explained it would and I was cared for extremely well in the hospital. Since the procedure, I am glad to say I am cancer-free and enjoying life with my wife and family without the worry that comes with knowing you have a cancer growing inside of you.
I think very highly of Dr. Ramin and I'm living proof of his confidence and competence. I'm also grateful to that friend who encouraged me originally to seek other opinions and ask each physician I met with about their experience. Knowing what I know now, Dr. Ramin is the test I would measure all others by.
Kenneth B. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
After my initial diagnosis of prostate cancer, I sought out treatment from a prominent local urologist who purportedly was one of the national experts on prostate cancer. He had an impressive pedigree on paper including many research articles. He recommended removal of my prostate using a surgical robot which seemed to be the "gold standard" of treatment.
When I awoke from anesthesia after surgery, I received devastating news. Based on some prior abdominal surgeries I had undergone that resulted in adhesions, the doctor stated he was unable to complete the surgery because he thought it was too dangerous to proceed through the adhesions. He closed me up and I had to recover from a painful surgery that accomplished nothing to address my cancer. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.
When I met with this "prominent" urologist post-procedure, he recommended that my best course for treatment going forward would be radiation. He "implored" me to not trust any other doctor who stated he could accomplish this surgery because it was just too risky, in his opinion. I was resigned to proceed with radiation, but at the strong urging of my family, I finally agreed to seek further medical opinions. What I found out in taking this extra step was vitally important. If I decided to undergo radiation, I would effectively eliminate my option for surgery, or even further radiation, if the initial radiation was unsuccessful. It was at this time that the two doctors I consulted with, my primary urologist and the chief of surgery at a major hospital, independently recommended Dr. Ramin who they had seen obtain amazing results in successful prostate cancer treatment with some of the most difficult cases out there. I immediately made an appointment to see Dr. Ramin.
Upon consultation with and being evaluated by Dr. Ramin, he reviewed my original failed surgery report and said some of the most hopeful words I had heard up to this point in my prostate cancer journey: "I have a lot of experience removing adhesions and I can do this." He was confident in his ability to successfully perform a robotic prostatectomy on me, using a different approach to the adhesions than the original urologist and one that made sense to me. But I remained apprehensive. After all, I had already gone to a highly-respected and reputable surgeon who couldn't successfully complete the surgery. What if my experience with Dr. Ramin ended up with the same disappointing conclusion?
To help answer that question and to put my mind at ease, I got in touch with the original urologist via email and let him know of Dr. Ramin's recommendations. The general tone of his response to me spoke volumes. Without using these exact words, he basically indicated "If I can't do it, no one can." I realized for the first time from that response that the original doctor's strong admonition appeared to be more about him than sound medical advice. I shared his communication with Dr. Ramin. Dr. Ramin's response was another of the reasons I chose him: "How can he presume to know what I am capable of? In over 1,000 surgeries, I have never had to stop." With that further reassurance from a doctor who was highly recommended from two doctors I personally respected, I decided to proceed with robotic surgery under Dr. Ramin's skilled and confident hands.
During surgery, Dr. Ramin kept in frequent communication with my wife in the waiting room because he knew how the last procedure turned out and wanted to put her mind at ease. After I awoke from anesthesia on that day, Dr. Ramin's words were some that my wife and I will always remember: "The surgery was successful." We were thrilled.
My recovery post-surgery has been remarkable and has gone better than I expected. I have had much less pain than I anticipated and no unintended side effects or complications. At my follow-up appointment with Dr. Ramin, I received incredible news. Everything had gone smoothly, all of the margins were clear, no lymph nodes were involved and he told me I was "CANCER-FREE." I received a terrific result from a terrific doctor. He also shared some scary news. If I had proceeded with radiation as surgeon No. 1 recommended, it would have damaged my lower bowel because of its location as a result of by my adhesions.
I also want to mention that throughout my experience with Dr. Ramin from the very first meeting, he took all the time I required to answer every one of my questions. I have never felt rushed when meeting with him which is vitally important when you are dealing with such a serious disease.
My advice to men and the loved ones helping them make their prostate cancer decisions? If you doctor tells you it's 'impossible:' get a second opinion from Dr. Ramin. That decision has made all of the difference for me.
Victor F. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
My prostate cancer journey didn't begin in the United States, but my hopes are high that it ended here. My story began nearly two years ago, when a routine screening exam in Europe returned results that I had experienced a sudden increase in my PSA levels. A biopsy confirmed my concerns. I had prostate cancer. Luckily, it was detected early at stage T1-T2. But even with this fairly good news, I faced some important decisions. Watch and wait for the cancer to potentially grow and spread or do something to eliminate it? I also wondered whether I should access treatment in Europe or travel to the United States.
With such important questions swirling in my mind, I imagine I did what most married men who are faced with a prostate cancer diagnosis would do. I turned to my wife for support and guidance. As soon as I was diagnosed, she began an exhaustive search for the best treatment option and the best physician to care for me. We both agreed that we wanted to do all we could to eliminate the possibility that the cancer might grow or spread. So as part of her research and after consulting with many European physicians, my wife discovered that robotic surgery might be a good option for me. However, European doctors just didn't seem to have the experience with the technology that American doctors do and they recommended we expand our search to the United States. That is when we found Dr. Ramin.
Dr. Ramin wasn't the only surgeon we considered. We spoke with others, got opinions and weighed our options. We chose Dr. Ramin carefully – and for multiple reasons. First, Dr. Ramin is held in high regard within the medical community. To hear other health professionals have such positive opinions about him was a huge indicator to my wife and me that he is a top-notch professional. But perhaps the most important reason we chose Dr. Ramin is his incredible ability for empathy.
Upon our first meeting with Dr. Ramin, my wife and I felt no physician-patient distance between us. He truly cared about my condition and my concerns, from our initial conversation through my course of treatment and beyond. I just knew I could trust him 100%.
Based on an extensive review of my prostate cancer diagnosis and biopsy results, Dr. Ramin believed that robotic prostatectomy was the best choice for eliminating my cancer and returning me to normal living. My surgery and recovery have gone smoothly. I went out for a walk on the pier with my wife less than a week after surgery and I am feeling great.
Between Dr. Ramin's skill as a surgeon, compassion as a physician and an early treatment plan, my prostate cancer has a 98% chance of never coming back. That is a relief to me, my wife and my family. I thank my wife for finding Dr. Ramin and I thank them both for saving my life.
Mike M. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
My prostate cancer story began the way it does for many other men, with a routine physical. I had visited my regular doctor for an annual check-up in 2010 and received a clean bill of health, with a PSA of 1.3 at the time. After skipping my 2011 physical, I knew by 2012 that I really needed to have that annual visit. So I made an appointment and went in. By then, my PSA had crept up to 7.6 and my doctor recommended a prostate biopsy just to be safe. Alarm bells began ringing loudly in my head.
Upon receiving the results of my biopsy, my worries were confirmed: I had prostate cancer and an aggressive form of it. My primary doctor quickly referred me to an urologist to discuss treatment options. I visited him, got the information I thought I needed, but still left his office with more questions and worries than answers and relief.
It was in relaying my prostate cancer diagnosis and subsequent urologist visit to a good friend that he recommended I get a second opinion from Dr. Ramin. I listened to my friend's advice and quickly made an appointment to see Dr. Ramin. At that initial appointment and after having spent only a few minutes with him, I knew Dr. Ramin was the absolute best choice to help guide my decision about which prostate cancer treatment options would be right for me.
Because my form of prostate cancer was one of the more aggressive types, Dr. Ramin recommended a robotic radical prostatectomy as the best treatment for my circumstances. With a strong feeling that "watchful waiting" wasn't the right option for me, I went with his recommendation. This was not simply because Dr. Ramin is an expert, but mostly because I felt so sure I was in the right and most capable hands with him as my surgeon.
On the day of my surgery, Dr. Ramin visited me beforehand to make sure I knew what to expect and to answer any questions I had beforehand. That visit from him put me at such ease and the last thing Dr. Ramin said to me before I was wheeled into the operating room was "You're in good hands." It was a simple but significant truth and I knew it.
My surgery went well and Dr. Ramin visited me afterwards to let me know he was pleased with the outcome. I was up, walking around on the same day of my surgery and out of the hospital that following afternoon. I had bladder control back very soon after surgery and my scars healed quickly.
The best news though is that three weeks after surgery, my PSA is less than 0.02 (undetectable in my blood stream) and I am cancer-free. I've also returned to regular workouts at the gym and enjoying a satisfying intimate relationship with my wife. Life is good.
To any man who is concerned about his prostate health, I say don't be afraid to get tested. Even if "watchful waiting" is the approach you will take, it's important to have a baseline of what is normal for your prostate and overall health.
While I certainly don't wish a prostate cancer diagnosis on anyone, I can say with confidence that I would recommend Dr. Ramin to my father, brother, son or any other man who receives such a diagnosis. Yes, he is that good. Dr. Ramin is a skilled surgeon who knows what he is doing, but more than that he genuinely cares for his patients. For me, I believe that made all the difference.
Roger R. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy with Pelvic Lymph Node Dissection
I imagine my prostate cancer diagnosis went the way it does for many men. It came out of left field and completely caught me off guard. I've been in good health my whole life and this was my first life-threatening health experience.
For more than 35 years, even while enduring incessant teasing from friends and loved ones about being excessive, I have always been vigilant about health check-ups and remaining physically fit. Well, between that vigilance and Dr. Ramin's skill and expertise, I believe my cancer was detected and treated as early as it could've been.
After having my PSA levels examined by my regular internist at every annual physical for many years, I was unprepared to hear the most recent result indicating a spike in those levels and it being cause for concern. Understanding that this wasn't his area of expertise, and knowing that we needed to get to the bottom of things sooner rather than later, my doctor referred me to the man he called an "expert in the field," Dr. Soroush Ramin.
I called Dr. Ramin's office to schedule an appointment and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to see him that same week. When you're standing at the edge of what you're worried will be a cancer diagnosis, the last thing you want to do is wait. When I met Dr. Ramin for the first time, I was immediately put at ease by his calm demeanor and clinical level of expertise. He took considerable time explaining my options for further testing, and I never felt rushed or pushed in one decision direction or another. After explaining the testing routes available to me, I asked Dr. Ramin what he would do if it were him standing in my shoes. He said he would choose to have a prostate biopsy performed and explained why. I went with his suggestion.
Upon receiving the results of the biopsy, my concerns were unfortunately confirmed. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer between Stages 1 and 2 and with a Gleason score of 7. That meant my cancer was still confined to my prostate, but was classified as moderately aggressive. I immediately made an appointment with Dr. Ramin to discuss treatment options.
On this visit to Dr. Ramin's office, I was accompanied by my girlfriend and my best friend. I was still reeling from the diagnosis and I wanted to make sure that they were there to ask any questions I may not have thought of, and to act as moral support. When I saw Dr. Ramin this time, he still had that same calm and caring presence that he did at our initial consultation and it put me at ease once again. He spent hours with me at this visit. We discussed my diagnosis and my treatment options. He answered my questions and the questions from my loved ones. I know this wasn't the first time he's had to explain a cancer diagnosis to a patient, but I certainly felt like I was Dr. Ramin's only patient on that day. He was completely focused only on me.
After weighing the pros and cons of each treatment option against the aggressiveness of my prostate cancer, I opted for a radical robotic prostatectomy. I didn't even pursue a second opinion. I knew that I was in the best hands with Dr. Ramin. He didn't make any guarantees, but did make me feel like he would do everything he possibly could for me.
My surgery date was originally scheduled about a month after my diagnosis. It felt like too long to wait. So I called Dr. Ramin's office to see if I could get in earlier. Dr. Ramin worked his schedule around so that we could advance my surgery date. He knew how concerned I was and made sure to get me in sooner rather than later.
On the day of my surgery, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. From the clinical staff at the hospital to the anesthesiologist in the operating room, everyone was kind and caring. Before being wheeled into the operating room, I remember Dr. Ramin telling me "Don't worry. I am going to take really good care of you." I believed him, and that reassurance was again such a source of comfort to me.
My surgery went as planned and Dr. Ramin came to visit me the following day to let me know how everything went. He gave me the good news that my nerves remained intact after the surgery, something every man worries about when he undergoes a prostatectomy. I was also surprised to find out that upon a biopsy of my prostate after removal, the cancer had advanced to Stage 3 and a Gleason score of 9. I am still so grateful that Dr. Ramin moved up my surgery date.
Today, just a few short weeks after surgery, I am back at work part-time. I have not experienced the urinary incontinence that I was told may be an issue after a surgery like this, and I attribute that to Dr. Ramin's skilled hands and care.
A cancer diagnosis of any kind is scary. To anyone looking for the best prostate cancer care provider, I think you owe it to yourself to see Dr. Ramin. I don't think my life would be as it is today if Dr. Ramin hadn't been the one to treat my prostate cancer. His genuine care, concern, and superior level of clinical expertise, make him a model for physicians in any specialty.
David W. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
When I began tracking my PSA levels around the age of 49, I'm glad there wasn't the controversy there is today over prostate cancer screening, early detection and early intervention. I believe that being "in the know" about my prostate health helped saved my life.
After having my PSA levels checked and biopsies performed for years, in 2009, my levels began to rise above what is considered acceptable. My regular urologist at the time became concerned and he referred me to Dr. Ramin for follow-up and further assessment.
I met with Dr. Ramin and he confirmed what we suspected might be true: I had prostate cancer. But it was still in its early stages. And, Dr. Ramin said that addressing it sooner rather than later could be beneficial as there was concern over the tumor's location and its ability to spread to other areas because it wasn't in the "central" part of my prostate. Of course, no man wants to ponder prostate cancer and surgery in the same conversation, but Dr. Ramin helped put my mind at ease. My first impression of him, and his demeanor was that of a "fighter pilot." He was calm, looked me in the eye and was methodical in his explanation of my options. Best of all, he was a great listener – a quality that you unfortunately don't find in every physician you encounter today.
I had a long discussion with Dr. Ramin that day and he was confident that I was a great candidate for a robotic prostatectomy using the da Vinci robot. I did my research, but ultimately, I agreed with Dr. Ramin's recommendations and decided to move forward with the surgery.
My surgery took place in January 2010. Between Dr. Ramin's skilled hand and the care I received from the fantastic people at the hospital where my surgery was performed, my recovery was nothing short of remarkable. Dr. Ramin visited with me the day after my procedure to see how I was doing and by the following day, I was recovering at home. Because Dr. Ramin has also pioneered an invention, the Ramin Sling, to help with a speedier recovery of continence after surgery, my catheter was removed in his office less than one week after my surgery. I never had one moment of incontinence throughout my recovery and the very small incisions on my abdomen that were made during the surgical procedure are now barely noticeable. I also attribute the care Dr. Ramin demonstrated and his exceptional skill in avoiding any nerve damage with the preservation of my sexual function.
The best news of all is that I have been cancer-free since my surgery. I credit that to Dr. Ramin's expertise as a surgeon and his kindness, compassion and unwavering commitment to his patients. He is truly a superb guy and has my unhesitating recommendation as a top-notch urologist.
Donna R. | Kidney Tumor | Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy
As a mother of two, grandmother of three and former operating room nurse, I was pretty in-tune with the signs and symptoms of many medical conditions. But being diagnosed with a kidney tumor was one condition I never saw coming. In fact, the mass was discovered by complete accident and I had no related symptoms that I was aware of. I'd seen my internist for an unrelated condition called bursitis, and he suggested I have an MRI to get to the root of the problem. It was during the MRI that the mass on my right kidney was discovered. I guess you could say the MRI was the first step on my road to being tumor-free. Dr. Ramin was my second and by far the most important.
I was referred to Dr. Ramin by my internist. He said: "Dr. Ramin is the best out there for this." So, I made the appointment right away. My first impression of Dr. Ramin was that he was a gentle communicator and clear explainer. He inspired my trust by offering his background and credentials. . He thoroughly went over his treatment recommendations, what would be involved in the procedure and answered all of my questions. I never felt rushed or as if I were asking too many questions. He really took his time with me.
After conducting additional tests to be certain of his treatment recommendation, Dr. Ramin performed a Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy to remove the tumor on my right kidney. Having worked in an operating room for many years, I was grateful for the confidence Dr. Ramin had in his choice of the correct approach. In the light of probably malignancy, using his obvious skill and expertise, he was able to take out the mass and lymph nodes without removing my entire kidney. The results were continued right kidney function, very little scarring and a less painful recovery after the operation. I was also pleased to see that Dr. Ramin didn't just say goodbye after the procedure. He was very attentive to my needs while I recovered in the hospital and regularly followed up with me to see how I was doing. A few weeks later we received the news from the pathologist that the tumor was benign! Thanks to Dr Ramin's foresight, I have full kidney function with no restrictions!
I am grateful to Dr. Ramin for the confidence he has in his surgical skill. His decision making delivered the best outcome and result for me. He concentrated on me as a patient throughout this entire journey and inspired the same confidence in me. His attention to the details of my care led to total healing with no postoperative problems.
Raymond A. | Prostate Cancer | Robotic Prostatectomy
I'll never forget the day I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. November 4, 2009. I had been having some elevated PSA results since the previous summer and a biopsy ordered by my physician came back with the devastating news. It was a whirlwind of tests from there--lymph nodes analyzed, a bone scan and a lung scan to see if the cancer had spread. The results of these tests indicated that the cancer may have spread to my lymph nodes. It wasn't good news. From the time I was diagnosed, I interviewed six urologists at various institutions to decide who's treatment recommendations I would go with. Dr. Ramin was my third interview. He was the only doctor who gave me hope.
After visiting with me for hours, listening to me and combing over my test results, Dr. Ramin thought that my lymph nodes may have produced the result they did on the test due to inflammation from my previous biopsy. He didn't think the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. It was the best news I'd heard in months.
With the confidence that I was dealing with prostate cancer that was still 'localized,' Dr. Ramin recommended a robotic prostatectomy procedure using the da Vinci robot. He performed the procedure just before Christmas, on December 23, 2009.
After the surgery, I was nervous to see the results of my first PSA test. It came back at zero. And it's remained at zero for more than two years now. I am cancer free.
I believe anyone can get a medical degree. The difference with Dr. Ramin is that he is truly an artist at his craft. He is a wonderful man, both in his skill as a surgeon and as a compassionate human being.