Peter Hagerty - Patient Story

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"Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Plimack are so positive; they definitely have the ability to cheer you up."

— Peter Hagerty

I was really shocked to learn I had cancer at age 36. I was in excellent health, and there was no family history of cancer. My advice to other men is that if it doesn’t look right or feel right, get it checked right away. Don’t be embarrassed. You don’t want to mess around with your health, especially if it’s serious like mine was.

I noticed in March 2009 that I had some groin pain when I was getting in and out of the patrol car I used as a police officer in New Jersey. Like many men that age, I shrugged it off for a couple of weeks. By the third week, however, I realized my testicle was rock hard, and my wife, Eryn, an advanced life support paramedic, sent me right to the doctor. The doctor referred me right away to a urologist.

When an ultrasound detected a tumor, the urologist ordered several tests that confirmed the diagnosis of testicular cancer. A few weeks later, I underwent surgery at a nearby hospital to remove my testicle. After surgery, I was given the news that the stage 2A cancer had spread to my retroperitoneal lymph node.

I decided to go to Fox Chase Cancer Center for further treatment. I knew they only treated cancer so I figured it was the best, and my urologist agreed with that decision. I met first with Dr. Richard Greenberg, a urologic surgeon, who recommended a course of aggressive chemotherapy followed by surgery.

By Easter that year, my medical oncologist at Fox Chase, Dr. Elizabeth Plimack, admitted me to the hospital for the first of four courses of inpatient chemotherapy. After four cycles, I was ready for surgery. Just four months after I was diagnosed, I had a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, which removed the cancer and reduced the risk of recurrence.

Because of the type of work I do, I couldn’t return to my job immediately after surgery, but three months later I could return to the force. I felt 90-95% at that time, just a little tired. Throughout it all, I used Lance Armstrong’s website and kept thinking that if Lance can do this with stage 4 testicular cancer, so can I.

My wife and I were really happy with the care I received at Fox Chase. I really could have gone anywhere, and we drove past all the big Philadelphia university hospitals on our way to Fox Chase. But I chose it because all they deal with is cancer. Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Plimack are so positive; they definitely have the ability to cheer you up.

Eryn and I like to ski, and we will introduce our son, Cole, to the sport. My major advice to other patients dealing with cancer is to keep fighting. Don’t give up, no matter how bad you feel or how bad it looks. In the end, it’s all worth it. I’ve got my wife and my son. What more could I want?

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