Reuben Francisco reflects on the innovative surgical technology that saved his life.
When Reuben Francisco received his test results indicating his PSA levels were elevated, he thought nothing of it.
“It didn’t sink into me what that might mean. I thought, maybe I have an infection or an enlarged prostate,” Reuben said. “It never crossed my mind that I could have cancer.”
After receiving these results, Reuben carried on with his life. As a husband, a father of three, and an emergency room nurse, he had a lot on his plate. The 47-year-old did something he would never counsel his own patients to do: he ignored it.
“I got tested three months later and my levels were still elevated. Again, I ignored it,” Reuben said. “Then three months later I tested again. Finally, I accepted that it was time to see a urologist.”
Reuben began asking his colleagues in healthcare for recommendations. If he was going to see a urologist, he wanted them to be among the best in the field, highly experienced, and using the latest technology to treat conditions of the prostate.
“I had friends who told me that, if I needed surgery, I should go with a doctor experienced with the da Vinci surgical robot. I did my own research and knew this would be the best possible option for me.”
Ultimately, Reuben was encouraged to call Maz Ganat, MD, Chief of Urology and Program Director of Urologic Oncology at Englewood Health.
“When I talked to him, I felt right away: this is my doctor,” Reuben said. “I could tell Dr. Ganat actually cared.”
Dr. Ganat performed a biopsy of Reuben’s prostate. When the results came back this time, it was confirmed. Reuben had prostate cancer.
“It’s scary. When you hear that you have prostate cancer, you don’t know what will happen next,” Reuben said. “My only thought was that my kids still want me around. I still wanted to be around.”
Dr. Ganat engaged in a detailed discussion with Reuben, presenting him with two primary options: surgery or radiation. Given his prior preparations and research, and due to his young age, Reuben swiftly made his decision in favor of surgery. In fact, he had a specific surgical approach in mind from the outset.
“At Englewood Health, we have a special expertise with the da Vinci robot, which acts as a natural extension of a surgeon’s eyes and hands,” Dr. Ganat said. “The robot allows us to perform more precise and minimally invasive procedures, which means shorter hospital stays, less post-operative pain, and quicker recoveries, and can result in better outcomes. This is the kind of surgery Reuben ultimately opted for to remove his prostate cancer.”
Reuben says that his great comfort during surgery and recovery was the conversations he had with Dr. Ganat in the preceding weeks.
“He prepared me step-by-step for everything that I would eventually experience. He would say, ‘after this many weeks, you’ll feel like this,’ and it would all happen. Everything fell into place exactly as he said it would.”
Today, Reuben is recovered and back at work caring for his own patients, undoubtedly encouraging them to prioritize their cancer screenings, just as he ultimately did. His experience, marked by the care he received at Englewood Health, continues to fill him with gratitude.
Reuben stated, “Today, I am happy, and I know that Dr. Ganat saved not only my life but also my family’s. Now, I am here, living free from cancer.”