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Mary Crowther - Patient Story

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"Once the extent of the tumor was known, Fox Chase Cancer Center was recommended."

— Mary Crowther, Kidney Patient

It was Christmas Eve, 2014, and Mary Crowther, a loving wife, mother and grandmother, was enjoying the holidays with her family.  Later that evening, she experienced a sudden onset of hematuria (blood in her urine) progressing to vomiting and flank pain. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room early Christmas morning. She spent eight days in a community hospital, most of it in the ICU due to right kidney failure and sepsis. Several rounds of tests indicated that Mary had stage 3 kidney cancer.

“Once the extent of the tumor was known, Fox Chase Cancer Center was recommended,” recalls Mary, who was referred to David Y.T. Chen, MD, FACS, a urologic surgeon who specializes in treating patients with kidney cancer. “I met Dr. Chen within a few days and he was able to schedule my surgery for January 15, 2015.”

Dr. Chen performed a right nephrectomy, a procedure to remove the kidney. “The next day I was up walking with supervision,” explains Mary, who was monitored by Dr. Chen and his associates during her stay. “I was discharged to return home two days after surgery,” she shares. “My pain was effectively managed, although my pain reduced significantly after surgery.  Only post-op issues involved dealing with constipation and Dr. Chen’s nursing staff was very helpful with recommendations for effective relief.”

“There was no doubt I would choose Fox Chase Cancer Center for my treatment. First, because the referring physician recommended them, and secondly, I already had supreme confidence in Fox Chase because of a previous experience beginning in 2012. At that time, I had breast surgery with follow-up radiation,” she adds.

“Dr. Chen immediately put me at ease because he explained in detail what I was facing and his recommended treatment plan," shares Mary. "His manner of presentation was excellent and factual, while all the while maintaining a genuine concern for my level of understanding and how I was handling things. He explained that, with any luck, the surgery would be curative." The surgery included removal of the right kidney and part of the renal artery. Post-operative follow up would include periodic lab work, CT scans and surgical evaluations. "I had the first of those follow-up sessions on May 12, 2015, and all went well,” she continues.

Mary recommends that people consider Fox Chase from both a starting point and second option. She said the emphasis on cancer care offers patients distinct advantages other community hospitals may not offer. “Fox Chase is on the cutting edge of new treatments and interventions while balancing that knowledge with significant experience.  My experiences have supported the notion of treating the person rather than the disease,” Mary says.  

A registered nurse who works for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Mary reports she is feeling well. “Virtually all my career has been spent in rehab and home health. I am very much a ‘people’ person and have had extensive experience in teaching professionals and paraprofessionals,” she says. 

“I am so grateful to Dr. Chen and his staff for preparing me every step of the way and for their continued support. Dr. Chen inspired my confidence in him from the moment I met him,” Mary shares.

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