Hunting trophies represent a passion for Ken Patterson, but he was forced out of the field when he was told he had stage three bladder cancer.
"It was devastating," said Patterson. "I couldn't believe it. I just kept asking if he had the right patient."
Ken and his wife found urological cancer surgeon Carol Salem at Scripps Mercy Hospital. She uses a robot to remove the cancer, take out the bladder and prostate.
"It's a devastating diagnosis because as you can imagine, getting the tumor out is one thing, which includes the removal of the bladder and the prostate," said Carol Salem, M.D., urological cancer surgeon at Scripps Mercy Hospital.
Treating bladder cancer is traditionally done by creating a large incision from the pubic bone to the belly button. The robotic surgery requires an incision a third of that size and there's less blood loss--both help lead to a faster recovery. During Ken's nine and a half hour surgery, Doctor Salem was able to build a neo-bladder out of his bowel - giving him control he thought he my never have again.
"When we do surgery robotically, we can spare the pelvic nerves," said Salem.
"Everything works just like it always worked," said Patterson. "92 days after major surgery I was out in the woods hunting elk again."
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