New, improved bladder cancer surgery performed robotically brings better results

HOUSTON – Christopher Baty said, looking back, he remembers aches, pains, and even blood in his urine but he pushed through his Ironman training without mentioning the symptoms to a doctor.

With racing on a seat for too long and running long distances, pain is expected, but in hindsight, those might have been symptoms of cancer.

He recalled a concerning moment that happened during one Ironman competition out of state.

“I sat down in a parking garage, from there lost consciousness,” Baty said.

Once he got back to Houston, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Even worse, he was not eligible for chemotherapy.

“When I asked the doctor about doing nothing at all, he said, ‘You’d be dead within a year,’” Baty said.

He went to Dr. Michael Brooks, a urologist at Houston Methodist West Hospital, for surgery.

Dr. Brooks used neobladder reconstruction to remove the cancer and save Chris’ life.

“In order to treat the cancer, the entire bladder is removed as well as the prostate, and this whole lower urinary tract is reconstructed as well as the small bowel and creating a new bladder,” Dr. Brooks explained. “The surgery was done entirely robotically with small incisions to allow him the quickest recovery, highest quality of life right away after the procedure.”

Chris’ recovery is astounding. His current scans show zero cancer and he’s already training for his next triathlon.

“There’s no detectable cancer in me right now and they’re going to continue to monitor it and get images every three months and then after two years, it’s every six months. So, looking forward to being cancer-free,” Baty said.