Why did you pick Dr. Carroll in particular?
I researched each of the specialists I had a consult appointment with and found a lot of data on their performance. Peter's numbers were outstanding.
Number one, he had done these procedures thousands of times; you always want someone who has done it thousands of times. Whereas a typical surgeon would have 30, 40 or 50 percent of patients experience side effects such as sexual dysfunction or incontinence, in Peter's case, the numbers were more like 5 percent. Also the recovery rate, the bleeding – with all the signs you would use to judge the quality of the surgeon, Peter's numbers were far, far better than average.
When I mentioned his name to other urologists, everyone said he was considered the best.
What happened at that visit?
I went through all my material and asked him what he thought – should I do surgery, should I do radiation, what would be best? I was a young and healthy person.
His response was amazing and very encouraging to me. He said, "I have another alternative. Do neither." I said, "You mean watchful waiting?" He said, "No. The problem with watchful waiting is there is too much waiting and not enough watching."
Then he went on to explain active surveillance to me. It's a proactive program that very carefully assesses and measures, in a quantitative way, where your disease is, whether or not it's progressing. If and when it does progress, then you can make a decision about a more intrusive type of treatment.
Another very important fact he gave me was, if a man on active surveillance requires treatment two, three, five years down the road, the success rate and result of the treatment are equal to or better than for men who chose to have the treatment immediately.
Were you surprised to hear that from someone you'd chosen as an eminent surgeon?
It was amazing to me that a world-class surgeon would tell me I shouldn't have surgery. That really put Peter in a unique class for me. He is a very logical, objective person who truly puts his patients first.
Separate from the fact that he's a world-class medical scientist, physician and surgeon, what struck me about him when he first walked in the room was that he's a very unassuming, caring human being. That initial impression has stood up over the years I've known him.