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Irene Cohen - Patient Story

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"I was putting my life in Dr. Reddy's hands, and I trusted him."

— Irene Cohen, Breast Cancer Survivor, Colon Cancer Survivor

I was 50 years old in 2002 when a routine mammogram detected a mass that turned out to be breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy at a community hospital and decided to have follow-up radiation therapy at Fox Chase.

Thirteen years later I had to once again face a cancer diagnosis when I started having rectal bleeding. When the bleeding got worse, I made an appointment with my primary care doctor who recommended a colonoscopy. Even though I was 63, I had been scared to get a colonoscopy. I was afraid of the preparation that was required, and I was anxious about what it involved. But due to the bleeding and my previous experience with cancer, I knew it had to be done.

I told my doctor that I wanted to have the colonoscopy done at Fox Chase, and he agreed that was a good choice. Within a week, I met with a gastroenterologist at Fox Chase who performed the colonoscopy.

As soon as I woke up from that procedure, the doctor explained that something was seriously wrong. He said that I had colorectal cancer and that I needed surgery. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, and I appreciated that he was very straightforward when he delivered the news. He referred me to a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase who specializes in gastrointestinal cancer, Sanjay S. Reddy, MD.

Before I met with Dr. Reddy to discuss the surgery was one of the hardest times of my life. I was nervous and upset, but he calmed my nerves at that visit. He showed me images from my colonoscopy to help explain the diagnosis and why surgery was needed, and he gave me details about the surgical procedure he would use to treat the cancer.

One word to describe Dr. Reddy is thorough. There was nothing that Dr. Reddy rushed through or skipped over. I felt a sense of relief and knew that I had found my surgeon. I was putting my life in his hands and I trusted him. The ride home from Fox Chase that day was very different than the ride going there. I was more confident and much calmer.

I was scheduled for a laparoscopic sigmoid resection to remove the cancerous portion of my colon. The nursing care I received after my surgery was excellent. The nurses controlled my pain and made me feel that I was not alone. Dr. Reddy even gave me his cell phone number to use if I needed to reach him at any time, something no doctor has done for me in the past. He is an exceptional doctor who cares about his patients, and he saved my life; I recommend him to anyone.

I continue to be monitored by my physicians, and I don’t take my health for granted. I encourage others not to put off seeing a doctor if you notice changes in your body and to get preventive testing. If you see any bleeding, go to the doctor and listen to what they say. I think Fox Chase is the best place in the Philadelphia area to be treated for cancer, and I strongly recommend it. Through their specialization in cancer treatment and prevention, I beat cancer twice. I owe my life to Fox Chase.

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