Edward Bandtlow - Patient Story

"When I compare my surgical experience at Fox Chase to what I could have had elsewhere, it is like night and day."

— Edward Bandtlow, Skin and Kidney Cancer Survivor

I had been too busy with my career as an executive career coach at my own company, ExecWorth Advisor, to do anything about a suspicious spot on my face. In fact, I had been ignoring the spot for quite some time until a physician friend in July 2008 told me that I was long overdue in seeing a dermatologist.

I took my friend’s advice and looked online for a hospital where I could find cutting-edge techniques in dermatology. I did some research, and saw that Fox Chase was just the type of place I was looking for. After making an appointment, it was there that I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma on the left side of my face.

Because the spot was so noticeable on my cheek, I knew I would also need plastic surgery. Sameer Patel, MD, FACS, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Fox Chase, joined my treatment team. My surgeons decided to perform Mohs micrographic surgery followed by plastic surgery. I was amazed at what an incredible job they did; I was extremely pleased with my appearance after the surgery.

A short time later, I became concerned that there was a problem with my prostate. After an exam, my urologist was also concerned – not with my prostate but with my kidney. He referred me to a urologic surgeon at a large Philadelphia teaching hospital who then diagnosed me with kidney cancer. That came as a complete surprise to me.

The surgeon recommended open surgery to remove my kidney, which would require a large incision and a lengthy recovery period. I didn’t think I could afford to give up working and driving for at least 12 weeks, so I started researching alternative treatment options. I wanted to find a doctor who was trained in minimally invasive procedures, such as da Vinci robotic surgery or other laparoscopic procedures. My online research led me right back to Fox Chase.

I emailed David Chen, MD, FACS, a urologic surgeon at Fox Chase who is specially trained in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. I asked him whether I might be a potential candidate for minimally invasive surgery, and he responded right away, offering to evaluate me. I couldn’t believe it. What doctor does that? 

Dr. Chen examined me and said I was a candidate for laparoscopic surgery to remove my kidney, but that I would not be a good candidate for robotic surgery. The surgical approach didn’t really matter to me as long as it was laparoscopic and my recovery was faster and easier.

I stayed in the hospital for only three nights after my surgery, walked a mile the day I went home, and was able to drive just one month later. When I compare my surgical experience at Fox Chase to what I could have had elsewhere, it is like night and day.

I am so thankful to the doctors at Fox Chase. I was able to return to running my business, where I have spent my career helping people succeed and to be the most they can be. I enjoy my life, my children and grandchildren. I never would have expected my life to turn out this way, but it is absolutely wonderful.

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