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Daniel Haubrich - Patient Story
"My experience at Fox Chase was always positive."
I often think back and wonder what would have happened if I had not gone to Fox Chase Cancer Center for treatment of my prostate cancer. Choosing Fox Chase was the best decision I’ve ever made.
In 2005, I took advantage of prostate screenings offered at my workplace. I was a manager with the Federal Aviation Administration William J Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. I had always had regular check-ups, but I decided to have the prostate screening blood test since I was over age 50.
The screening showed that my PSA score was higher than expected. The result made me concerned enough that I decided to see my primary care doctor to do some further evaluation. My doctor confirmed the results and sent me to a local urologist who did more testing, including a CAT scan and biopsy. Those tests discovered the cancerous mass on my prostate.
The urologist didn’t think I was a good candidate for surgery, so he recommended a treatment plan with radiation therapy. He offered me little hope that I would have a full recovery because my Gleason score was high, and he indicated that my health outlook was not good. At that moment I knew that I needed to find a more experienced surgeon with an optimistic attitude.
My wife, Mary Jo, turned to her circle of family and friends for advice. A cousin recommended Fox Chase because her father had been successfully treated there for prostate cancer. I soon had an appointment with Dr. David Y. Chen, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase. From the moment that Mary Jo and I met with Dr. Chen, he was positive and interested in helping me. He explained my diagnosis and what the Gleason score means.
Unlike the urologist, Dr. Chen recommended surgery. He told me that I was a good candidate, that I was in good physical shape, and that he thought I would make a full recovery. We scheduled the prostatectomy after my wife and I returned from a vacation we had planned.
The surgery was in early 2006, and I recovered well and eased my way back into work. Every three to six months following surgery, I returned to Fox Chase for scans and blood monitoring. When some cancerous cells were detected in 2007, Dr. Chen referred me to Dr. Eric M. Horwitz, a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase, who recommended radiation therapy. I traveled to Fox Chase every day for seven weeks for the treatment. Dr. Horowitz was compassionate and smart, and whatever he recommended worked for me.
The surgery and the radiation treatment had very little physical impact on my life. I took some sick time when I had surgery, but I continued to work the entire time I was receiving radiation therapy. I am grateful to both Dr. Chen and Dr. Horwitz for their positive attitudes, their commitment to care, and for treating me with respect. My experience at Fox Chase was always positive.
I am now cancer free. I retired in 2013 and remain very physically active. My wife and I enjoy traveling and try to take a couple of cruises every year. I enjoy several hobbies, including fishing, hunting, photography, reading, cooking, and taking care of my home and property.
Dealing with cancer improved my mental outlook on life. I have shared my Fox Chase experience with many people, including relatives, friends, and co-workers, and I think I have helped a few people who were facing similar cancer battles. I recently volunteered to participate in the Patient-to-Patient Network at Fox Chase, which matches patients with cancer survivors who had a similar cancer diagnosis or who had a similar treatment, to provide encouragement and explain what to expect during their treatment.
My wife always tells me that God had plans for me by keeping me around to spread confidence to those who are dealing with cancer. My biggest advice for anyone with cancer is to think positive, to make a plan to beat cancer, and to stay active.