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Carlos Perez - Patient Story

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"I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Chen and the floor nurses who took care of me."

— Carlos Perez, Prostate Cancer Survivor

I was just beginning to enjoy retirement after a 28-year career with SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

I was given the diagnosis after undergoing testing at my local community hospital, where I was treated for a kidney stone. When my blood work was suspicious, the doctors decided to biopsy my prostate. I had watched my father undergo treatment for prostate cancer and then later lose his life to stomach cancer, so I had known that I was at increased risk for developing cancer. Beginning in my early 40s, I started having my PSA levels checked regularly because of my father’s medical history, and each time my levels had been in the normal range.

Doctors at the hospital recommended open surgery, but I wasn’t interested. I decided instead to research my options on the Internet, which led me to articles about a new technology called da Vinci robot-assisted surgery. I was sold on the idea and learned that Fox Chase had a team of surgeons who were trained to use the robot.

I quickly made an appointment with Dr. David Chen, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase who specializes in urologic cancers. He explained to me all of the treatment options, including radiation and surgery, and confirmed that I was a candidate for the minimally-invasive, robotic-assisted procedure. I agreed because I wanted the cancer out of my body right away, and I told Dr. Chen that I was leaving myself in his hands.

Dr. Chen performed the procedure, and I was up and around the following day. He was able to save my nerves, and I had very few side effects. I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Chen and the floor nurses who took care of me.

My wife, Serafina, and I are blessed with two daughters and four grandchildren. One of our daughters gave birth to premature twin boys, and once I started feeling better, we were able to help with the babies during the week. I also started volunteering at Fox Chase. I speak fluent Spanish and am able to assist with translation. It is work that I really enjoy.

Since my successful treatment, Serafina was diagnosed with breast cancer and also had surgery at Fox Chase. By the grace of God, her cancer was caught very early, and she needed no chemotherapy. She has undergone radiation therapy and is now taking medication.

Many men in my culture feel that prostate cancer threatens their manhood. They are afraid to be tested and are even more afraid of the side effects. I am here to say that it wasn’t so bad, and I encourage other men to have their PSA levels checked often. I also encourage anyone to seek help at Fox Chase.

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