The Benefits Rang True: Prostate Cancer Patient Reflects Back on Positive Robotic Surgical Experience
By Tracy Fitzgerald
When 59-year-old Robert Arrington found out he had prostate cancer, he felt a wide range of emotions, but mostly – he was scared. After getting through the initial shock that often comes with a cancer diagnosis, Robert made it a priority to understand everything he could about his treatment options, including the various ways surgery could be approached.
Through his research process, he learned that choosing a surgeon who is trained to perform the procedure using robotic technology carries a lot benefits. Less blood loss, less pain, small incisions, a quicker hospital stay, and a faster road to recovery topped that list of benefits.
And for Robert, who underwent surgery at Beebe Healthcare in February 2023, those benefits rang true.
“On the day of my surgery, I arrived at Beebe at 9 a.m., and by 4 p.m., my surgery was done, I was discharged, and was comfortably resting at home,” said Robert. “My pain was controlled and the incision marks on my stomach were tiny. It is truly fascinating. The scars will be barely noticeable when I am at the beach this summer.”
Robert’s journey with cancer began when routine blood work ordered by his primary care physician indicated his PSA (prostate-specific antigen) number was higher than normal. He was referred to Beebe urologist Richard Paul, MD, who ordered a biopsy, which ultimately confirmed a diagnosis of Stage 1 prostate cancer. Surgery was recommended as the best course of immediate action, based on Robert’s age and the stage of his cancer.
“Truthfully, as soon as I heard ‘the C word’ I was in so much shock, and I wasn’t able to process much more of what the doctor said that day,” recalls Robert. “I was very emotional, and I was immediately filled with fear that I was going to die from this. But I trusted my doctor.”
Robert’s surgery was performed by Gregory Spana, MD, a board certified urologist and fellowship-trained robotic surgeon. Dr. Spana is a member of Beebe’s Medical Staff and practices independently in the community. He performs procedures at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus and the Specialty Surgical Hospital at the Rehoboth Health Campus, utilizing the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System.
Beebe is home to an advanced robotic surgery program focused on superior efficiency, quality, and patient experience. Beebe’s expert surgeons utilize this innovative technology that has transformed the process of surgical care and optimizes both clinical outcomes and the care experience for patients.
Robert feels fortunate that he had access to this state-of-the-art care at his community hospital and was also incredibly impressed with Beebe’s new Specialty Surgical Hospital, which was thoughtfully designed to make surgical patients feel welcome, comfortable, and safe.
“Everyone at Beebe was so warm and kind, from the first minute I walked through the door,” said Robert. “The Surgical Hospital is beautiful and it’s clear a lot of thought went into creating space that would make patients and families good.”
Robert is a retired police officer who relocated to the Bethany Beach are from the Washington D.C. area about a year and a half ago, alongside his wife Bonita. He has two adult children and five grandchildren, and enjoys watching sports, golfing, and spending time at the local beaches.
Following his experience as a cancer patient, it’s safe to say Robert no longer takes any special moments for granted. He also helps others can learn from his story.
“When you go through something like this, it gives you new perspective on life,” said Robert. “My experience is a reminder of why it is so important to see your doctor on a regular basis for a check-up, even if you feel healthy. I never had any signs or symptoms suggesting something was wrong. It means the world to me that I can put this behind me, know that my health is in good check, and move on.”