Randy Kilburn: Prostate & Kidney Cancer

“I wish everyone diagnosed with prostate cancer could have the kind of experience I had. I was in the hospital just one day for surgery, and now I am cancer free."

“I wish everyone diagnosed with prostate cancer could have the kind of experience I had,” said 55-year-old Randy Kilburn. “I was in the hospital just one day for surgery, and now I am cancer free.”

Persuaded by his wife, Beth, Randy went to his family doctor for a complete physical in October 2011. “I hadn’t had a thorough check-up since retiring from the Air Force in 1994,” he said. The physical included a PSA blood test, which checks for a protein that in high amounts can be a sign of prostate cancer. “My PSA level was elevated,” said Randy,” so my doctor said we would keep it monitored.”

Soon afterward, the PSA level rose enough that Randy was referred to urologist Nitin Ambani, MD. Dr. Ambani performed a biopsy that confirmed prostate cancer. “Before he gave me the diagnosis, he made sure my wife was with me for support,” Randy recalled. “He is a caring, family oriented doctor, and he wanted to keep her involved in my care. His office staff was also wonderful to us.”

Dr. Ambani also ordered a CT scan to determine whether or not the cancer had spread to other organs. Results revealed that one of Randy’s kidneys was also affected. “This was where Dr. Ambani amazed me,” Randy said. “I know other men who received a diagnosis of prostate cancer and no further testing was done. Dr. Ambani went further because he wanted to be sure. If he hadn’t been diligent, my kidney cancer may not have been detected in time.”

In February, Dr. Ambani performed traditional open surgery to remove the kidney. After sufficient time to heal, Randy underwent a second surgery in April to remove the prostate. This time, Dr. Ambani was able to use a minimally invasive technique using the daVinci robotic surgical system®.

“After the experience of open surgery, I could not believe how easy the minimally invasive procedure is,“ Randy said. ”I was a bit worried at first, but Dr. Ambani gave Beth and me a video to watch at home before the surgery. I was extremely impressed at how precise the daVinci robotic technology is.” 

Following the surgery, Randy was surprised by his lack of pain. “My nurse came in to see if my morphine button was working, and I told her I hadn’t had a need to use it,” he said. “I took a little aspirin in the afternoon, but that was all.”

Randy found the Henry Ford Allegiance staff to be “truly amazing. The nurses would explain procedures to me, then re-explain to Beth when she came in, just to make sure we were always informed and updated. Even the housekeeping staff was excellent and kind,” Randy said. “Someone was always checking on me and taking great care of me.” 

Since his prostate surgery, Randy has had two check-ups. “Everything looks good,” he said. “Beth and I recently moved into a new home, and I’ve been able to help with some of the painting and yard work. I am so glad to have put these medical problems behind me while I am still pretty young,” he said. “I am ready to enjoy the rest of my life.”

You can reduce your cancer risk by getting regular medical care, living smoke-free, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating fruits and veggies, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active.