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Prostate cancer survivor tells men to know their numbers

“Family members and friends call me ‘the missing link’ because I don’t get sick and I don’t miss work,” says Michael LeBlanc, a prostate cancer survivor treated at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. “I’ve always been very physically active. I went two and a half years ago for a routine physical and my doctor called me back the very next day. He told me he wanted me to see a urologist at the hospital and get some blood work done because things weren’t quite right.”

After additional blood work and biopsies, LeBlanc learned he had prostate cancer. “When I first heard, it was a little bit scary,” he says. “I didn’t know where to go or who to go to.” He was referred to Piedmont's Nikhil Shah, D.O., chief of minimal access and robotic surgery, and Raj Laungani, M.D., director of minimally invasive surgery and robotic urology.

Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery

“I did some research about robotic surgery and learned they just make six very small incisions about the size of your little finger or a pencil,” says LeBlanc. He also learned that recovery time, depending on a person’s condition and the invasiveness of the procedure, could range from two to eight weeks. “I asked a lot of questions and Dr. Laungani didn’t sugarcoat anything. He told the real story, which I like,” says LeBlanc. “We talked about it and I prayed about it. My wife and I made the decision for me to go ahead and have the surgery. It was amazingly successful.”

LeBlanc’s recovery was so quick that he was back to work in seven days. “I’m a licensed plumber, so I wasn’t lifting 15-gallon water heaters, but I was back doing light work like traveling and scheduling,” he says. “Now it’s been two and a half years and my six little incisions look like freckles.”

Educate Yourself About Prostate Cancer

“I would encourage any man to have an annual PSA test. It takes five minutes,” says LeBlanc.

“Know what it is. I’ve talked to a lot of men and they say, ‘My PSA is fine.’ Fine doesn’t help you because when I had cancer, mine was fine. It was a very low number. Educate yourself and know what that number is. If there’s a marked change, then you can make a decision to see a urologist, not because your number is high, but because your PSA number has changed.” For more information about this minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer, visit Piedmont Robotic Surgery.

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