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Joe Briggs - Patient Story

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"Going to Dr. Kutikov was hands down the best decision we’ve made."

— Joe Briggs, Husband, Father, and Prostate Cancer Survivor

My wife, Valerie, convinced me to make an appointment with my primary care doctor for a complete physical and blood work when I turned 50 in 2013. I had no health concerns other than frequent urination, usually at night, that I attributed to getting older. Otherwise, I was active, healthy, and not super overweight.

The blood work showed that I had an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of 7.1, so my primary care doctor referred me to a urology group in Norristown, PA, for a biopsy. The biopsy indicated that I had a Gleason score of 6, which is indicative of cancer, specifically prostate cancer. My doctor recommended that I have surgery right away and that there was no time for a second opinion.

My wife advised that I should find someone better equipped to treat me, and she called Fox Chase Cancer Center the next day. All of my health records were transferred within a few days. My first appointment at Fox Chase was with Dr. Alexander Kutikov, a urologic oncologist. He had my first biopsy results and insisted that we wait to see if there was any change and not rush into anything. I would be on ‘active surveillance,’ which meant that I would be monitored for any changes.

Before my second biopsy, Dr. Kutikov obtained a multi-parametric MRI study, which helps localize aggressive lesions within the prostate that a routine biopsy can miss. When the MRI identified an abnormality on my prostate, the Uranov device was used to improve the accuracy of the prostate biopsy. The Uranov technology fuses images from the MRI with ultrasound imaging obtained during the biopsy to allow precise targeting of abnormalities.

The imaging studies found that the lesion had more aggressive features than Dr. Kutikov had expected, which meant that active surveillance was no longer an option for me. A robotic prostatectomy was scheduled. Dr. Kutikov was very truthful and upfront with his explanations throughout the whole process. He never made promises about what might happen and was very careful to always give me the entire picture. He is absolutely the nicest man I have ever met. He was concerned with me, with my wife, and with how I was dealing with my diagnosis.

About three months after the surgery, I was feeling well and had returned to work as an administrator for a health care company. I continue to enjoy spending time with Valerie and our two adult daughters. Looking back, I am confident that Fox Chase was the best place for my care and that it was the best decision that we have made. I feel they are offering world-class treatment 30 minutes from my house. They use cutting-edge treatments that are performed by the brightest minds in health care who care about me and care about my wife and family.

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