Melvin Bennett had been actively monitoring several nodes in his lungs since their appearance a few years earlier. During one of his annual exams, his healthcare team imaged farther down Bennett's torso and discovered a growth on his right kidney. He was immediately scheduled for further tests.
Bennett's primary care physician referred him to David S. Yee, M.D., M.P.H., urologist and director of minimally invasive robotic surgery at Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Additional imaging tests revealed that the golf ball-sized tumor on his kidney was likely cancerous.
"I was scared to death," Bennett says. "My wife and I did a lot of research and brought a huge list of questions and concerns to our appointment with Dr. Yee. He addressed every one of our questions before we even had a chance to ask them. He really put us at ease."
Dr. Yee felt the best approach would be to remove Bennett's entire right kidney to ensure the cancer didn't spread. He recommended a robotic assisted laparoscopic nephrectomy, a minimally invasive method of removing the kidney.
The surgery took place at Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Through three small incisions, Dr. Yee inserted a camera and instruments and removed the kidney. Thanks to the minimally invasive procedure, Bennett made a swift recovery, despite the fact that he also has congestive heart failure. He was up and walking with his wife about a week after surgery. "At 77, I feel like my recovery was very fast," he says.
It wasn't long before Bennett was back out on his acreage in the Sierra Nevada foothills, working on his property. Today, his congestive heart failure is improving and doctors have determined that no further monitoring is needed on the nodes in his lungs. In the two years following his surgery, Bennett saw Dr. Yee every six months for follow-up exams to monitor his progress and check for cancer. Because Bennett has been cancer-free since his surgery, Dr. Yee now only sees him annually for follow-up exams.
"We really felt like we were in good hands from the first time we met Dr. Yee," Bennett says. "He was very thorough and put everything in layman's terms for us. I had complete trust in him."