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"The treatment, from start to finish at Fox Chase, was compassionate and top-notch."

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"The treatment, from start to finish at Fox Chase, was compassionate and top-notch."

— Paul Cramer

Paul Cramer likes to tell people that smoking saved his life, although he gave up the habit at age 26. In February 2010, Paul learned that his medical plan would cover a procedure to check for an abdominal aneurysm, for anyone who was - or had been - a smoker. Paul, who was 65 at the time and proactive about good health, opted for the test. The good news was that the results showed no aneurysm. The bad news was that doctors detected a cancerous growth on his left kidney. “It was aggressive: Stage 1 moving into Stage 2,” recalls Paul, who had no symptoms to speak of. After meeting with a local surgeon, Paul decided to seek a second opinion.

“My wife, Anne, and I had known about Fox Chase Cancer Center for years," shares Paul. "A friend's life has recently been saved there by extensive oral surgery, so we decided to call for a second opinion.” 

At Fox Chase, Paul was referred to David Y.T. Chen, MD, FACS, a urologic surgical oncologist. “During my first appointment with Dr. Chen, he struck me as concerned, interested and confident.  The treatment he proposed sounded less risky than what had been described to me by the surgeon I met in New Jersey. Dr. Chen also was prepared to perform the surgery immediately,” says Paul, who underwent the procedure in April, 2010.

Dr. Chen performed a minimally invasive laparoscopic partial nephrectomy in order to salvage the organ and its function. There are only a handful of surgeons skilled at this complex procedure and Dr. Chen is one of them. “Following surgery, the nurses were kind and solicitous, and focused on two things: pain management and rehab," explains Paul, who was discharged two days after surgery. "I was able to recover pretty easily and experienced only minor pain.”

Following Paul's recovery, Dr. Chen advised that no further treatment was needed. “I have returned each spring for follow-up tests, and as of May 2015, there has been no recurrence in five years,” Paul says. "The treatment, from start to finish at Fox Chase, was compassionate and top-notch." Paul opted to share his story so he can help others. “I thought it might be encouraging for someone experiencing a problem like this for the first time to hear my story.”

Paul turned 70 in 2015 and is happily retired. “I worked for many years as an analyst/programmer for Cigna. My wife, a former schoolteacher, and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in June 2015.  “We have 4 children (3 living), two biological sons and two adopted daughters. We also have five grandchildren (3 girls, 2 boys), and much of our retirement time has gone into childcare for the grandkids, especially the girls, who all live nearby.”  Paul says he enjoys gardening and he’s feeling well. “I am grateful to Dr. Chen and the staff at Fox Chase. I would recommend Fox Chase to anyone confronting cancer. My own experience was excellent beyond a doubt."

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