"The second opinion with Dr. Chen probably saved my life."
In 2006, at the age of 55, Daniel Haubrich was successfully treated for prostate cancer at Fox Chase Cancer Center. “Choosing Fox Chase was the best decision I’ve ever made,” admits Daniel.
In 2005, Daniel took advantage of prostate screenings at his workplace. “I had regular check-ups but when they offered prostate cancer screening tests at work, I decided since I was over 50 I would do it,” Daniel recalls. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test can indicate whether a man is at increased risk of developing prostate cancer. These levels are typically tracked over time to watch for a significant increase.
Back then he was a manager with the The FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ.
Daniel’s PSA score was higher than expected, and he decided to seek further evaluation from his primary doctor. “The result made me concerned. I went to my doctor who confirmed the results and sent me to a local urologist. Further testing, including a CAT scan and biopsy, revealed a mass on my prostate,” Daniel continues.
This urologist suggested a treatment plan with radiation therapy because he didn’t feel I was a surgical candidate. His offer gave Daniel little hope for a full recovery. “He explained that my Gleason score was high and that my health outlook didn’t look good," shares Daniel, who wasn't encouraged. "At that moment I knew that I needed to find a more experienced surgeon with an optimistic attitude.”
Daniel’s wife, Mary Jo, turned to her circle of family and friends for advice. “Mary Jo connected with a doctor whose father had prostate cancer. She initially took her father to a large academic cancer center in Baltimore, but was not happy with their treatment options. Next, she took her dad to Fox Chase Cancer Center where he was successfully treated. She highly recommended Fox Chase, so Mary Jo picked up the phone and called,” adds Daniel.
Daniel had a very good feeling about Dr. Chen.
She scheduled an appointment with David Y. Chen, MD, a surgical oncologist who specializes in treating men with prostate cancer. "From the first moment Mary Jo and I met with Dr. Chen, he was positive and interested in helping me. He explained my diagnosis as well as what my Gleason score meant. Dr. Chen explained why he recommended surgery," remembers Daniel, who was in good physical shape. He told me that he thought I would make a full recovery and contain the cancer. When I left the appointment, I turned to Mary Jo and said, ‘I have a very good feeling about this doctor.’ We scheduled my surgery after a planned vacation," Daniel shares.
In early 2006, Dr. Chen performed a prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) for Daniel. “I recovered well and eased my way back into work,” recalls Daniel.
Every three to six months following surgery, Daniel returned to Fox Chase for scans and blood monitoring. In 2007, some cancerous cells were detected and Dr. Chen referred Daniel to his colleague, Eric M. Horwitz, MD, Chair, Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase. “For seven weeks, I traveled to Fox Chase every day. Dr. Horowitz is an outstanding doctor who is both compassionate and smart. Whatever he recommended, it worked. It’s been eight years and my PSA remains undetectable and no further cancerous cells have been detected,” shares Daniel.
Daniel, now cancer-free, is retired and spends his days working on home improvement projects, traveling with Mary Jo and spending long weekends fishing and hunting. He also is father to an adult son.
Daniel is confident that Fox Chase doctors likely saved his life.
“I often think back and wonder what would have happened if I didn’t come to Fox Chase. The second opinion with Dr. Chen probably saved my life,” Dan says “I wish to extend my gratitude to both Dr. Chen and Dr. Horowitz for their positive attitude, their commitment to care and for treating me with respect. My experience at Fox Chase has always been positive.”