Prostate cancer patient appreciates benefits of robotic surgery

April 18, 2023

When 59-year-old Robert Arrington found out he had prostate cancer, he felt a wide range of emotions, but mostly, he was scared. After getting through the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis, Robert made it a priority to understand everything he could about his treatment options, including the various surgical approaches.

Through his research process, he learned that choosing a surgeon trained in using robotic technology carries a lot of benefits. Less blood loss, less pain, small incisions, a shorter hospital stay and a faster road to recovery topped the list.

And for Robert, who underwent surgery at Beebe Healthcare in February, those benefits rang true.

“On the day of my surgery, I arrived at Beebe at 9 a.m., and by 4 p.m., my surgery was done, I was discharged, and was comfortably resting at home,” said Robert. “My pain was controlled, and the incision marks on my stomach were tiny. It is truly fascinating. The scars will be barely noticeable when I am at the beach this summer.”

Robert’s cancer journey began when routine blood work ordered by his primary care physician indicated his PSA (prostate-specific antigen) number was higher than normal. He was referred to Beebe urologist Richard Paul, MD, who ordered a biopsy, which ultimately confirmed a diagnosis of stage 1 prostate cancer. Surgery was recommended as the best course of immediate action, based on Robert’s age and the cancer stage.

“Truthfully, as soon as I heard ‘the C word’ I was in so much shock, I wasn’t able to process much more of what the doctor said that day,” recalled Robert. “I was very emotional, and I was immediately filled with fear that I was going to die from this. But I trusted my doctor.”

Robert’s surgery was performed by Gregory Spana, MD, a board-certified urologist and fellowship-trained robotic surgeon. Spana is a member of Beebe’s medical staff and practices independently in the community. He performs procedures at the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus and the Specialty Surgical Hospital at the Rehoboth Health Campus using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System.

This innovative technology has transformed the process of surgical care; it optimizes both clinical outcomes and the patients’ care experience. Robert feels fortunate that his community hospital offers this state-of-the-art care, and he was impressed with Beebe’s new Specialty Surgical Hospital.

“Everyone at Beebe was so warm and kind from the first minute I walked through the door,” said Robert. “The surgical hospital is beautiful, and it’s clear a lot of thought went into creating space that would make patients and families feel good.”

Robert is a retired police officer who relocated to Bethany Beach from the Washington, D.C. area about a year and a half ago with his wife Bonita. He has two adult children and five grandchildren, and enjoys watching sports, golfing and spending time at local beaches.

Following his experience as a cancer patient, it’s safe to say Robert no longer takes any special moments for granted. He also hopes others can learn from his story.

“When you go through something like this, it gives you new perspective on life,” said Robert. “My experience is a reminder of why it is so important to see your doctor on a regular basis for a checkup, even if you feel healthy. I never had any signs or symptoms suggesting something was wrong. It means the world to me that I can put this behind me, know that my health is in good check and move on.”

As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received at Beebe, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at

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