Art McKee: A Family History of Prostate Cancer Encouraged Him to be More Proactive

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"With my family history, I knew I had to begin PSA testing when I was 40."

— Art McKee, Prostate Cancer Patient

As an accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, Art McKee knows how to protect himself. And as someone with a strong family history of prostate cancer, Art also knows how to protect his health.

At age 40, a good 10 years before most men would have their PSA levels tested, Art was proactive and asked his family doctor that he be tested. And with good reason. Art's father, grandfather and 4 uncles were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"I also spread the word among my friends to have a conversation with their doctors about whether or not PSA screening is right for them. Without symptoms, you may never know you have prostate cancer," explained Art.

Choosing Between a Robotic Prostatectomy and a Traditional Approach

Once diagnosed, Art researched his options for treatment. In looking on the Internet, Art came across a new procedure where surgeons perform da Vinci robotic-assisted prostatectomy. This was appealing to Art because it is less invasive than traditional open surgery, which translates to a speedier recovery, shorter hospital stay, no scarring and reduced side effects. 

Dr. Rosalia Viterbo answered all of Art's questions about his prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options.Dr. Rosalia Viterbo answered all of Art's questions about his prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

The fact that Fox Chase offered robotic surgery wasn't enough for me. I also wanted to find a surgeon who is experienced in using the technology," said Art.

"When I learned that Dr. Rosalia Viterbo, a surgeon at Fox Chase, did her fellowship in robotic surgery and had performed this procedure hundreds of times, I knew where I was going - right to Fox Chase, which is coincidentally only 10 minutes from home."

"Dr. Viterbo spent quite a bit of time with my wife, Regina, and me, explaining the procedure, the side effects and what to expect. She answered all of our questions," said Art.

"During the procedure, I had a one night stay in the hospital. Everything was great. From the moment I stepped in until I left, Fox Chase was awesome. All of the people I met were friendly and took the time to help me. They were genuinely concerned about me and we could sense their compassion."

Acting on a Known Genetic Risk for Prostate Cancer

Due to their family history, Art encouraged his 39-year-old brother to get a PSA test. Not surprisingly, Art's brother, Curt, had a biopsy which was positive for prostate cancer.

Art and Curt enrolled in the Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase. The program provides screening, education and genetic testing for men with an increased risk of prostate cancer, often due to family history.

"As the father of 3 sons, I will educate my boys about their risk of prostate cancer. I hope that by then there will be even better methods of screening and treating the disease. Either way, I will encourage them to get yearly screenings as soon as it is recommended," said Art.

"I was so pleased with my outcome and I wanted Curt to have the same experience," Art said. "I also spread the word among my friends to get their PSA levels checked. Without symptoms, you may never know you have prostate cancer."

Art is grateful for the treatment he received. With minimal side effects, Art only missed 2 weeks of work and quickly returned to the activities he enjoys, including martial arts and running. "Just 12 weeks post surgery, I am participating in Philadelphia's famous 10-mile Broad Street Run in May," said Art. "I can't ask for much more than that!"

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