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Larry Griffin - Patient Story

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"Fox Chase and the staff let you know that, even though you may be in for a fight for your life, they have the means to help you."

— Larry Griffin, Prostate Cancer Survivor

My doctor had been monitoring my PSA levels for four years when, in December 2009, he recommended that I have a prostate biopsy. The results showed traces of cancer in four of the 12 tissue samples. I was 57 years old, had no symptoms, felt healthy, and was active.

When my diagnosis of prostate cancer was confirmed, I had my records sent to Fox Chase Cancer Center. Both my uncle and a college friend had been treated at Fox Chase, and I had been impressed by the friendly and caring staff when I visited them. I knew Fox Chase was the place to be for my treatment.

I was referred to Dr. David Y.T. Chen, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase. When I first met him, I knew I was in very competent hands. He confirmed my test results, was calm and reassuring, and he explained my treatment options. I was luckier than some in that I had been under observation for several years until the prostate cancer surfaced. One of Dr. Chen’s best attributes is that he is very patient friendly, and I liked the way he told me my status honestly yet without frightening me. He is a great doctor and has an excellent staff.

In June 2010, Dr. Chen performed a robotic-assisted prostatectomy. At a follow-up appointment in March 2011, he told me that my PSA levels had elevated from their post-surgery level of zero, an indication that some cancer cells remained. He referred me to the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase for further treatment.

I completed that treatment in June 2011, and my PSA levels have been negligible since that time. The people who work in the radiation treatment department at Fox Chase are first-rate, and now I always stop by to say hello to them when I go back for a follow-up appointment. I am so impressed by the collaborative approach and positive experience that Fox Chase offers patients.

In 2017, I am seven years post-surgery and six years post-radiation therapy, and I meet with Dr. Chen only once a year for a follow up. I still work for a community development corporation in North Central Philadelphia and plan to retire next year when I am 66. Since my treatment for cancer, I have become more active and often walk more than five miles a day. I have a gym membership and am in better shape than I was at age 55. In May 2017 I will celebrate my son’s graduation from Temple University, where he is a film editing major.

As my friend once told me, 'When you tell someone you are a patient at Fox Chase, everyone knows what a wonderful place you are dealing with.' The greatest thing about Fox Chase is the people who work there—the doctors, nurses, technicians, administrative support, information desk staff, and phlebotomists. They all work together, and they all care about patients.

Fox Chase and the staff let you know that, even though you may be in for a fight for your life, they have the means to help you. I want to let people know what a treasure we have in Fox Chase Cancer Center.

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