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Ray Ingaran - Patient Story

"The physicians and nurses at Fox Chase are wonderful."

— Ray Ingaran

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1992 when I was working as a firefighter in Philadelphia. At the time, Fox Chase Cancer Center wasn’t in the network of providers that my insurance would cover, and so I had to go to our local hospital. What had been diagnosed as prostate cancer turned out to a large abdominal mass. My surgery didn’t go well and the tumor broke apart. I lost a lot of blood, along with part of my colon.

My wife, Ginny, decided at that point to appeal to the Philadelphia Fire Fighters and Paramedics Union, asking that they approve my request for treatment at Fox Chase. The union approved the request in 1993, and I began what would turn out to be a long relationship with Fox Chase.

I  was not only dealing at the time with managing cancer symptoms, but I was also living with the effects of Agent Orange, an herbicide and defoliant chemical I had been exposed to while in serving in the military during the Vietnam War.

At Fox Chase, my surgeons were Dr. Richard E. Greenberg, chief of urologic oncology, and Dr. John P. Hoffman, chief of the pancreaticobiliary service. During the procedure, they removed my prostate, bladder, and colon, which left me with an ureterostomy and colostomy. It was a very difficult procedure but I was in good hands. I couldn’t work any longer and had to retire.

Over the years since that surgery, I have been diagnosed with liver cancer, kidney cancer that resulted in the loss of one kidney, leiomyosarcoma, and a mass on my coccyx bone. In 2013, another small tumor was discovered on my remaining kidney, which was removed by Dr. David Y.T. Chen, who removed the cancer and preserved the organ and its function.

I was placed on daily chemotherapy with Gleevec for the liver cancer, and I anticipate being on that for the rest of my life. Dr. Margaret von Mehren, director of the Fox Chase Sarcoma Program, has cared for me and continues to monitor my condition.

I am now 77 years old, and Ginny and I recently celebrated 55 years of marriage. We have two daughters, five grandsons, and three great grandchildren. We moved from New Jersey to an apartment in Philadelphia three years ago that is closer to Fox Chase and is more convenient for my follow-up appointments three times each year.

In all the years we have been going to Fox Chase, we have never had a single problem. Honestly, when we go there, we know everybody, even the maintenance staff. It is like a family. The doctors and nurses are wonderful people.

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