Sue Boyle - Patient Story

"In addition to being compassionate, Dr. Chen is straightforward, which I really appreciated."
‐Sue Boyle

My story begins in 2011 when I went to the emergency room at my community hospital with intense abdominal pain. I had experienced kidney stones in the past, and I thought that I was having another recurrence.

When doctors at the hospital could not determine the cause of my pain, I made an appointment with my nephrologist, a doctor that I trusted. She ordered a CAT scan, which detected an enlarged adrenal gland. My nephrologist recommended that I should see a specialist and referred me to David Y.T. Chen, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. She called and scheduled the appointment for me.

I liked Dr. Chen immediately and found him to be smart, straightforward, and qualified. He said that the enlarged adrenal gland could present problems down the road, and he recommended a surgery to remove it.  I had a smooth recovery after the surgery that year.

One year later I noticed blood in my urine, and I quickly returned to the emergency room where doctors diagnosed a urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics. Unfortunately, the antibiotics did not resolve the issue so I consulted with a local urologist who ran some tests and assured me that I did not have cancer. I also continued to see my nephrologist, who once again recommended that I make an appointment with Dr. Chen for further evaluation. By that point, the urinary bleeding was heavier.

Dr. Chen conducted more tests, including a biopsy. When the biopsy showed that I had aggressive ureteral cancer, he recommended immediate surgery. During one of the procedures he also discovered that cancer cells had spread to the lining of my bladder and recommended intravesical immunotherapy where the body’s immune system is used to attack the cancer cells.

It was shocking, since the other urologist had insisted I did not have cancer, and he was wrong. I did have cancer, and I wanted to be treated at Fox Chase. I am sure that returning to Dr. Chen saved my life.

Dr. Chen performed Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) therapy, which is used to treat early-stage bladder cancer without affecting other organs and can help prevent recurrence in the bladder lining. I had six successful BCG treatments, followed by a dissection during the summer of 2014 to remove the cancer from my ureter.

The next year I moved to Naples, Florida, but I travel back to Philadelphia twice a year to see Dr. Chen. He is worth the trip. He is an amazing doctor, one who is compassionate and straightforward, which I really appreciate.

The type of cancer I had was very personal. It takes a special type of doctor to treat patients with respect and dignity. Dr. Chen’s kind demeanor added to my comfort level. Through all of the biopsies, procedures, exams, and appointments, he made me feel comfortable and was able to make a difficult experience a bit more tolerable. Everyone at Fox Chase should be commended for their commitment and care of patients.