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Karmanos doctors help prostate cancer survivor heal, pursue goal of writing book

Though Edward J. Robinson is a prostate cancer survivor, it was only when he came to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center that he was able to find help for the internal damage he sustained during treatment at another hospital.

Robinson, 77, of St. Clair, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 1999. He underwent brachytherapy, or the implantation of radioactive seeds to kill the cancerous cells.

“The cancer diagnosis made me slow down,” he said.

Considered a new therapy at that time, the seeds killed Robinson’s cancer but left him with a fistula (or hole) extending from his colon through his prostate to his urethra. He began feeling incredible pain only about seven or eight months after receiving brachytherapy.

Robinson consulted with many different hospitals in and outside of Michigan to find appropriate treatment for the complications. He was finally referred to Donald Weaver, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Edson Pontes, M.D., professor of Urology, both with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine.

“I felt it was kind of a hopeless case,” Robinson said.

After 10 surgeries in the span of three years, Robinson said the damage has for the most part been healed and that he now takes antibiotics to ward off possible infections. He maintains regular check-ups with Dr. Pontes and receives PSA tests to ensure that his cancer has not returned.

“I love Karmanos,” he said. “I consider Karmanos a jewel of Detroit and Michigan. I’ve recommended the hospital to a lot of people. Dr. Pontes was excellent and I felt very confident with Dr. Weaver. Both doctors are internationally-known.”

Robinson credits the highly-trained experts at Karmanos for allowing him to be mobile and to live a higher quality of life despite complications from prostate cancer treatments.

“I’m alive and I can still get around,” he said with a smile.

Though he deals with other medical issues, including neuropathy in his legs and primary pulmonary arterial hypertension, Robinson, a retired economic consultant and former Michigan state senator, has been traveling throughout Michigan and to other states to promote a book he was written, titled, “While the Eagle Sleeps.”

Robinson writes about his close working relationship with labor union leader Walter P. Reuther and his casual conversations with Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford when Robinson was a boy growing up in Dearborn.

He also writes about issues related to the health industry, including the subjects of health insurance, pharmaceutical companies and the hospital industry; the American economy, unemployment, the automobile and computer industries, and the federal government, drawing on the economics education he obtained while attending Notre Dame University; his professional experience as a former Ford employee., the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit and the Metropolitan Detroit Development Authority; and his work in politics and political campaigns.

© 2014 Karmanos Cancer Institute Pencil
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