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Recommendation for surgeon at Johns Hopkins?

andstars
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2011

I recently received my pathology report showing prostate cancer with a Gleason 7 (3+4) score. I would like to get a second opinion from a surgeon at Johns Hopkins. I would prefer not to wait for the next appointment at the multidisciplary clinic which is at least 3 weeks away. Does anyone have experience with any of the surgeons that perform robotic surgery at Hopkins? I understand that Dr. Partin does not take BCBS so, at this point, I would like to see if there is another good option. Thanks for any insight you might offer.

ghdeaver
Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 2010

I had surgery performed by Dr. Pavlovich at Hopkins. He performs both robotic and non-robotic. Excellent experience with both Dr. Pavlovich and his team. Let me know if you would like more feedback.

andstars
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks very much for the quick and helpful response. I looked at his bio this morning. I have been to one doctor so far but although I think he is quite experienced he is so busy that I find it hard to get all my questions answered. Did you find that Dr. Pavlovich had the time to be able to fully answer your questions. Also, in the post-op period does he seem committed to follow-up. When you mention his team I am not sure what you mean. Is he the one that actually performed the surgery? Thanks again for responding.

ghdeaver
Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 2010

andstars
Sorry I am just replying. I have been traveling on business and just got home last night.
By team I mean his nurses and office staff. Dr, Pavlovich absolutely performed the surgery. I did find him patient and willing to answer any and all questions. During my followup appointments he has been willing to spend as long as I need to let me ask questions and then answer them. For what it is worth I had nerve sparing surgery and have zeros on my first 2 PSA tests ( 3 and 6 months). I am sssuming that is at least some testament to him as a surgeon as well as some luck that we caught the cancer early before it had spread, Happy to answer more questions if you have any,

ghdeaver
Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 2010

andstars
Sorry I am just replying. I have been traveling on business and just got home last night.
By team I mean his nurses and office staff. Dr, Pavlovich absolutely performed the surgery. I did find him patient and willing to answer any and all questions. During my followup appointments he has been willing to spend as long as I need to let me ask questions and then answer them. For what it is worth I had nerve sparing surgery and have zeros on my first 2 PSA tests ( 3 and 6 months). I am sssuming that is at least some testament to him as a surgeon as well as some luck that we caught the cancer early before it had spread, Happy to answer more questions if you have any,

Klemon
Posts: 26
Joined: Jun 2010

I cannot say that I am familiar with any of the docs at John's Hopkins. My husband had his RP performed by Dr Igor Frank at the Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN (2010). I can tell you we were very pleased. Our own physician and both of his brothers had
RP by Dr Frank in 2009- and recommended him highly, which is why we went there. When we had our initial consult with him, he said he himself does about 6-8 robotic RPs per week.
I do not know your situation/geographical location etc.. The drive is about 5 1/2 hours for us. (they also have an international airport). They were extremely accommodating. Our first appt was only 2 weeks out -due to our schedule, but they would have gotten us in within a week. We never had to wait to get an appt- always got in when it was necessary and also when convenient for us to travel. When we were up there, they were on time to the minute, and we never sat in a room or medical area for more than a couple minutes without someone talking to us.
Because we traveled, they often scheduled things in the same day, and rushed lab results so that we would not have to spend more time up there than necessary. They say they are the #3 top urology department in the world and treat more prostate cancer there than anywhere. There was much evidence of that in the urology area where we did in fact meet people from all over the globe.
Dr Frank and the staff at Mayo and the Rochester hospitals are Blue Cross providers. I live in another state and it was all easily billed through Blue Cross of MN and the process was seamless- and the coverage excellent. We were very pleased.
One good piece of advice we received was regardless of if you are John's Hopkins, Mayo or anywhere, clearly indicate you want the main surgeon doing your surgery as opposed to a resident. They will honor that. Also ask for a private room- its only another $65 per day and worth it. Wishing you the best of luck on your journey. :>)
PS: as to questions, our first consult he spent 45 minutes with us. Each time we visited with him, (5 in all) he spent 30-40 minutes with us answering all of our questions. We did not feel rushed. He also gave us his direct phone number and card and each time we saw him he told us to call if we had any questions. We had one question a couple weeks before surgery, no big hurry, and called and left him a message on a Friday. The nurse said he was in surgery, was it OK if he called Monday. Which was fine. He actually called us on Friday night aruond 6:45 pm.
When we had a question post op- we called the urlologist on call late on a weekend evening, they put us on hold and patched us right through, no waiting. We were very impressed with the customer service up there

kmkirlin
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

I have a little experience with Hopkins. I was diagnosed with Gleason 7 (4+3) following a needle biopsy in October 2009 shortly after moving from Iowa to the Washington, D.C., area. I called Hopkins Urology Dept. and took the next available appointment for a surgeon (a cancellation date was available) rather than wait for an appointment at the multidisciplinary clinic. I met with surgeon Jonathan Jarrow the next week. I told him I was very interested in nerve-sparing surgery. After doing a DRE, Dr. Jarrow said he would not consider doing nerve sparing surgery under any circumstances. I consulted with a radiation oncologist at Hopkins, who was much more professional in my opinion, but ultimately sought treatment elsewhere. Several months after seeing Dr. Jarrow, I learned that he left Hopkins to take a job at NIH. In 2010 I investigated proton therapy at M.D. Anderson in Houston, and eventually had an open prostatectomy at M.D. Anderson.

I still believe that Hopkins is a superb hospital for treatment of prostate cancer. Unfortunately, I ran into a jerk who was already heading out the door when I showed up. I strongly recommend that you wait for the appointment at the multidisciplinary clinic at Hopkins. You will be seen by a surgeon and a radiation oncologist and get a range of treatment options. Every other cancer treatment center I consulted provided this. It doesn't rule out the possibility of drawing a jerk, but it's a much better way to go than rolling the dice and getting an appointment with only a surgeon.

I second the recommendation of another person who replied to your post by mentioning the Mayo Clinic. The only reason I didn't go there was because I wanted to explore proton radiation therapy at M.D. Anderson, which I ended up not doing. Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic are both ranked among the best U.S. centers for prostate cancer treatment, right up there with Hopkins. BTW, I have been very happy with my treatment at M.D. Anderson.

I also strongly recommend that you ask whoever you see if they will perform an MRI with endorectal coil as a further diagnostic procedure before deciding on treatment. This is a non-invasive (but uncomfortable) procedure because they put the endorectal coil up your rectum to allow them to get a high quality MRI image of the prostate and seminal vesicles. It is not infallible, but it is an excellent diagnostic tool. No one at Hopkins or elsewhere volunteered to do this until I found out about it on my own and asked to have it done. With a Gleason 7 (3+4) score, you are on the cusp between less and more aggressive prostate cancer risk. I don't know how old you are or what your PSA was when they did the needle biopsy but, if I were you, I would want to exhaust all reasonable non-invasive diagnostic procedures before I decided on surgery or radiation. Both can have drastic side effects upon sexual function, among other things.

I also strongly recommend that, before deciding on treatment, you buy and thoroughly read the book "Saving Your Sex Life: A Guide for Men With Prostate Cancer," (available on Amazon)
by Dr. John Mulhall, who is Director of the Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program, Division of Urology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York. It is the single best resource I found for understanding the diagnostic and treatment options for prostate cancer, as well as their consequences and side effects. It will help you immensely in asking intelligent questions of treating surgeons, radiation oncologists and others.

Good Luck

Burt
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2011

There were some very negative comments about Dr. Jarrow at Hopkins which I feel require some balance. Dr. Jarrow did a radical prostatectomy on me in January, 2007. I found him to be entirely professional and easy to talk with before and after surgery. His counseling before surgery was right on the mark for what I could expect, his coaching on how to deal with post-op issues was totally effective, he gave me as much of his time and attention as I needed to get my questions answered, and I could not have asked for more from a surgeon. I don't question that the critical comments were sincerely felt. But I and a friend who also was operated on by Dr. Jarrow had a very positive experience.

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