President Atwater Medical Condition Update

Posted on 1/25/2010 10:54:44 AM

According to the surgeon for Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president, “The prognosis is good.”

“Dr. Atwater presented with an elevation in the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test, and, based on his understanding that African American men are at increased risk for developing prostate cancer, he was promptly evaluated and found to have clinically localized disease,” Dr. Joel Nelson, chairman of the Department of Urology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said.

Prostate-specific antigen is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. A blood test to measure PSA is considered the most effective test currently available for the early detection of prostate cancer.

“Dr. Atwater underwent a routine open radical retropubic prostatectomy [removal of the prostate] at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh and was discharged from the hospital the following day.

“His recovery has been rapid, uneventful, and he will be resuming full activities. The final pathology of the surgical specimen revealed an organ-confined prostate cancer, with no spread beyond the prostate or into the regional lymph nodes.

“Dr. Atwater’s experience is, fortunately, typical with early detection and treatment. Prostate cancer is curable, and, with care from an experienced team, we expect normal life to resume.”

“I feel especially blessed that early detection and medical intervention has resulted in a positive medical prognosis,” Atwater said. “I express my deep and sincere gratitude for the outstanding medical assistance of Dr. Joel Nelson and his medical team. I also express gratitude to Indiana-area physicians Dr. Andrew Cash and Dr. Joseph Conti, whose medical assistance led to the detection and early intervention for addressing my health issue.

“Thanks also to the many individuals whose prayers and good wishes have been conveyed both to me and to Beverly [wife Dr. Beverly Roberts-Atwater] over the last several weeks. We are forever grateful.”

Atwater currently is on medical leave and will return to work February 1, 2010. Dr. Gerald Intemann, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, is serving in the role of acting president until Atwater’s return.

Atwater notified the university community of his medical condition December 21, 2009.