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Joseph Dequinque - Patient Story
"All of my nurses at Fox Chase were friendly, nice and attentive."
South Philadelphia resident Joseph DeQuinque tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle. He’s a non-smoker, watches his diet and takes frequent walks with his wife Laura, with whom he celebrated his 55th wedding anniversary in 2014.
In July, 2013, at the age of 79, he noticed blood in his urine and made an immediate appointment with his urologist. After various tests, including a CAT scan, Joseph learned he had cancer in both his bladder and kidney, which is unusual.
"Dr. Smaldone made me feel that I mattered and that he cared about me as a person."
“I knew right away I needed to make some important decisions and make them quickly,” he remembered. He sought a second opinion. His wife Laura said he should seek a third - at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “My wife had seen them advertise on TV, knew of their good reputation, and we also had a friend’s wife who was being treated there. So, I made the phone call and was directed to see Marc C. Smaldone, MD, a urologic oncologist and surgeon at Fox Chase. “Dr. Smaldone agreed with my diagnosis and explained what he thought needed to be done. He was very nice, calm, patient and caring. Dr. Smaldone made me feel that I mattered and that he cared about me as a person. I felt an immediate bond with him and knew Fox Chase was the right choice for me,” Joseph said.
During the first appointment, Joseph told Dr. Smaldone that he had three children who were living in different parts of the country. “Dr. Smaldone offered to take each of my children’s phone number, call each of them, and explain my situation and the treatment needed,” Joseph recalls. “We decided to tell our children ourselves but we were so grateful for his compassion. I never knew of a doctor who cared so much.”
Dr. Smaldone performed a radical cystoprostatectomy (to remove the bladder) and left partial nephrectomy (to remove part of the kidney, while sparing the organ and its function) in a single procedure. During his pre-operative evaluation, a connection between his bladder and colon (colovesical fistula) was also detected. Paul G. Curcillo, II, MD, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase, performed a colon resection at the same time. “The surgeons at Fox Chase work as a team, which is beneficial to patients like me with multiple cancers,” added Joseph.
The day after surgery, Dr. Smaldone made rounds and visited Joseph, who was up in a chair and walking. “Dr. Smaldone stopped in early and he told me the surgery was very successful,” he recalled. Joseph’s children were at Fox Chase for the day of the surgery and did not go home until he was out of intensive care. “After being discharged, Dr. Smaldone called each of my children to share the details of my recovery,” Joseph offered. He also said the nursing care was excellent. “All of my nurses at Fox Chase were friendly, nice and attentive.”
In March 2014, Joseph celebrated his 80th birthday as a cancer-free man, feeling good and enjoying time with Laura. “We enjoy ballroom dancing and we’re walking together again. I’m forever grateful to Dr. Smaldone and Dr. Curcillo.”