Daniel Dacunha - Patient Story
"I was trying to be proactive about my health and the next thing I knew, I had early prostate cancer."
— Daniel Dacunha, Prostate Patient
In the spring 2007, Daniel Dacunha and his wife, Joanne, were watching television. "I saw a commercial that caught my eye," recalled Daniel. "It was for prostate cancer treatment and prevention at Fox Chase Cancer Center. After learning about their Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program, I figured I should call." The program is designed for men at increased risk of developing prostate cancer, which is often due to family history. Because Daniel's father, brother and cousins had prostate cancer, he knew the importance of calling Fox Chase.
"Even though I was being evaluated yearly by my primary care physician, I called the hospital and got an appointment right away. After I learned that I qualified for the program, I started the screening process," he explained. Daniel had his PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels checked with a blood test. Sometimes, elevated PSA levels are due to prostate cancer, which can be confirmed with further testing.
"The doctors were concerned about my PSA levels. I had a biopsy taken which confirmed I had prostate cancer," said Daniel. "I just couldn't believe it. Here I was, trying to be proactive about my health, and the next thing I knew, I had early prostate cancer." Daniel believes that because he was enrolled in the Prostate Cancer Risk Assessment Program, his cancer was caught at the earliest, most curable stage.
Daniel made an appointment with a radiation oncologist, Mark Buyyounouski, MD, and with a surgical oncologist, David Chen, MD, to learn about his treatment options. "The doctors were great. They explained everything to me," Daniel shared. "I learned that I was not a good candidate for radiation 'seed' therapy, but I was a good candidate for robotic surgery." Robotic prostatectomy is the most advanced, minimally invasive procedure to surgically remove prostate cancer.
After Daniel got another opinion from doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he felt confident in his choice for robotic surgery. "Dr. Chen had my complete confidence."
Before his prostate surgery at Fox Chase, Daniel had not spent a single night in a hospital. "My stay at Fox Chase was my first experience as a hospital patient, other than when I was born. It was much better than I expected. The nurses were terrific - everything went really well."
To top it off, Daniel was delighted with the outcome of surgery. "Thanks to Dr. Chen's talents as a surgeon, I was able to go home the day after surgery," Daniel added. "And the best part was that I did not require additional treatment. I was surgically cured."
At age 57, Daniel took advantage of an opportunity to retire from a long career at Johnson & Johnson. Although Daniel was retired at the time of treatment, he was "eager to return to my part-time job as a project manager in Philadelphia. I'm also excited to be renovating an old house in Bucks County - something I really enjoy doing."
"The treatment for prostate cancer has not stopped me from doing anything! I feel great and continue to ride my motorcycle, fix up houses, spend time with my grandchildren and help others. I'm so busy that sometimes I wish I had my old job -- at least then I had the weekends off!" said Daniel.
Daniel recommends Fox Chase to many people. "After watching my brother and father undergo treatment for prostate cancer, I was anxious. My time at Fox Chase was the most pleasant experience I could have imagined. Besides being extremely competent, everyone at Fox Chase treated me with kindness and respect. I can't ask for much more than that."