Robert Evans - Patient Story

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"I was blown away by the staff at Fox Chase."

— Robert Evans

In 2015, I was diagnosed with cancer of the appendix, a diagnosis that changed my life. After making it through the difficult year that followed my diagnosis, I now understand what it means to live each day to its fullest. There is nothing quite like a near-death experience to change one’s outlook on life.

For 25 years, I have worked as a consultant to nonprofits on fundraising and strategic planning out of my own firm in Willow Grove. I was active at age 70 in 2015 when I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was still working, as well as enjoying tennis and ballroom dancing. During that year, I started having some medical problems. I wasn’t feeling well and was losing weight, but no one could figure out why.

In August of that year, I went to a suburban Philadelphia hospital to have surgery for a ruptured bowel, which was causing extreme pain in my abdomen. The doctors there suspected I had a rectal perforation and decided to perform a temporary colostomy. During the surgery, the doctors saw that my appendix was inflamed and removed it because it interfered with the procedure. It was all fairly routine, including the biopsy they performed on my appendix.  

It was shocking when the biopsy revealed that I had cancer of the appendix, which, I learned, is very rare and often fatal. The doctor ordered eight rounds of chemotherapy. During those months of chemotherapy, I lost about 30 pounds and had to go on disability because I couldn’t work. It was a very tough period for me.

After I started chemotherapy, my family and I decided that I should get an unbiased second opinion. Fox Chase Cancer Center was a clear choice, since I live about 10 minutes from the Center, I drive by it frequently, and I had always been impressed by its compelling ads.

In January 2016, I first met with Dr. Efrat Dotan, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase. She reviewed my diagnosis and then brought in Dr. Sanjay Reddy, a surgical oncologist who has a lot of experience with cancer of the appendix. I was blown away by Dr. Reddy, the way he approached my complex case, his bedside manner, and how he was able to make my wife and me feel comfortable. Every time we met with Dr. Reddy for presurgical consultations, we were even more satisfied than the previous time.

In May 2016, two months after I completed my final round of chemotherapy, Dr. Reddy reversed my colostomy and checked to make sure that the cancer had not spread. After the surgery, I stayed at Fox Chase for eight days.

I was, and remain today, very impressed by Fox Chase. My stay there was unlike any other hospital stay I have had. The quietness was absolutely incredible, and it was a very calming environment. From the person cleaning my room to the top-level nurses and physicians, everyone was spectacular.

Today I volunteer at Fox Chase, the place that helped bring me back to good health. I feel great and am back at work, and spending time on the tennis court and on the dance floor with my wife of 46 years. 

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