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Andrew Steinmetz - Patient Story

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"When my doctor suggested Fox Chase, it was a no-brainer to me."

— Andrew Steinmetz

Working in retail takes a person with an outgoing personality and a commitment to customer service. “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. “I like helping customers and meeting new people.” 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. “I was working that day, and as the day went on the pain got so bad I could barely tolerate it,” he recalls.  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.”

A Fox Chase medical oncologist met with Andrew and explained what she thought needed to be done: chemotherapy and surgery. 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 C. 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. “From the moment I met him, he impressed me. Dr. Smaldone explained the procedure, what he hoped to do, and what the outcome would be. He had a down-to-earth approach that was nice and spoke to me clearly, explaining things in terms I could understand.” 

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."

By the fall 2014, Andrew shares that he's feeling well and has returned to work. He enjoys being outdoors and is a loyal Phillies fan. 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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