Testicular Cancer Often Affects Young Men

Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Andrew Steinmetz works in retail and has an outgoing personality. “I really like the pace of working in the store,” says Andrew Steinmetz, 23, who is a manager at a business supply store in Philadelphia.

Andrew’s upbeat and positive attitude is evident as he shares the story of his battle of testicular cancer.

In January, 2014, at age 22, Andrew was experiencing pain in his right testicle and swelling. The area was tender and enlarged and he decided to go the ER. “They did an ultrasound and they brought down an oncologist who was fairly certain it was cancer. A few weeks later they removed the mass and discovered through additional testing that the cancer had spread to my chest and abdomen.” Andrew’s urologist at the community hospital referred him to Fox Chase Cancer Center as a comprehensive team of specialists was needed. “When the oncologist said Fox Chase, it was a no-brainer to me. I knew of their reputation and that they specialized in treating just cancer.  I felt confident it was the place I needed to be.”

Andrew Steinmetz Andrew Steinmetz Fox Chase medical oncologist Yu-Ning Wong, MD, met with Andrew and explained what she thought needed to be done: chemotherapy and surgery. “Dr. Wong was fantastic,” he says. “She explained how I would be treated and what she would anticipate. I felt very confident in her care,” he says.  During the rounds of chemotherapy, Andrew says the nursing care was beyond what he could have hoped for. “The nurses were just so amazing. They knew my name. They treated me just like a guy, not a cancer patient. They would chat with me about things that made me take my mind off my diagnosis and treatment.  I relaxed, and I really appreciated their kindness.”

Andrew’s describes his surgeon, Marc Smaldone, MD, as a “fantastic, amazing, and an awesome doctor.” Six months after his initial cancer diagnosis, Dr. Smaldone successfully performed a post chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection to remove the masses that remained. “He had a down-to-earth approach that was nice and spoke to me clearly, explaining things in terms I could understand,” Andrew says of Dr. Smaldone.

Something Andrew said really impressed him is that Dr. Smaldone took his time both during appointments and with his treatment. “He said he was only performing my surgery that day, so he was going to go slow and take his time. Knowing this made me feel very good. I knew that I was a priority,” Andrew recalls. “After surgery, the nurses managed my pain very well and that was important.” Dr. Wong and Dr. Smaldone checked on him regularly. “That kind of thoughtfulness made me feel like I mattered and it is reassuring.”

Andrew shares that he’s feeling well and has returned to work. He’s very grateful to the staff at Fox Chase. “I really want to thank everyone there – the nurses, the doctors, Dr. Smaldone and Dr. Wong.  I wish I could thank everyone personally.”

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Cancer Conversations is the Fox Chase Cancer Center blog for news and analysis from staff and friends of the Center, reflecting current news in the field of oncology.

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