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Bill Gruccio - Patient Story

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"I have become an advocate of patients exploring alternative treatment options, and I send anybody who asks for a referral to Fox Chase."

— Bill Gruccio, Prostate Patient

I had four surgeries after my colon ruptured in September 2011, and the trauma of those surgeries led to an increase in my PSA levels by April 2012. My urologist told me that cancer cells tend to migrate where you are weak, and I was certainly vulnerable at that point. I was 63 years old.

When a needle biopsy confirmed that I had stage 1 prostate cancer, my urologist recommended a radical prostectomy, which would remove the prostate gland and the surrounding tissue. I decided to research other treatments that use minimally invasive or robotic-assisted surgery to see if there was another viable option for me. 

I consulted with physicians at several institutions, including a large university teaching hospital in Philadelphia, but I finally wound up at Fox Chase Cancer Center Buckingham located only 5 minutes from my house.

I made an appointment with Dr. Shelly Hayes, a radiation oncologist and director of the center. She uses a system that helps her more precisely guide radiation therapy for prostate cancer. After speaking with her, I chose a course of 40 consecutive treatments of targeted radiation using IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy).

The therapy began first with an appointment at the Fox Chase main campus in Philadelphia, where my prostate was implanted with the Calypso 4D Localization System guide to assure that the radiation therapy would be precisely targeted. I then went to the Buckingham center for the 40 doses. I felt so fortunate to have a world class cancer treatment center in my backyard. It took no time and barely interfered with my ability to work as a financial planner in Doylestown.

My experience with Dr. Hayes and Fox Chase was beyond belief. The treatment was tailored just for me. Mentally, I just couldn’t handle another surgery. I have become an advocate of patients exploring alternative treatment options, and I send anybody who asks for a referral to Fox Chase.

After my treatment ended, I enrolled in the THRIVE program at the Central Bucks Family YMCA, a 12-week program designed to help cancer survivors restore and increase vitality and strength through exercise. I made good strides in the program, and Dr. Hayes and her assistant Sue showed up at my graduation to cheer me on. Their support meant the world to me.

 Members of the THRIVE-ing Survivors raise funds for the Y’s cancer wellness program. Each year we host a ‘beef and beer fundraiser’ in Warminster. I also recently joined the Bucks County Chapter of the Board of Associates of the Fox Chase Cancer Center. We are volunteers who organize and host local events to support Fox Chase and its cutting-edge cancer research.

 

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