Richard E. Greenberg, MD, FACS
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Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111
Chief, Urologic Oncology
Professor, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Carol and Louis Della Penna Chair in Urologic Oncology
I joined the staff at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1983 as the first dedicated urologist. This gave me the opportunity to build a strong urology program--one that provides expert surgical care for patients with urologic cancers and their related medical issues. After all this time, the best part of my job is the smiles and gratitude I get from patients and family because of the effort put forth on their behalf, regardless of the eventual outcome.
During my training, I chose the field of urology because it offers a surgical subspecialty that encompasses many physiologic problems that require long-term 'medical' as well as surgical options. I have the opportunity for long-term follow-up of patients, rather than simply performing an operation and then sending them to another doctor for long-term care. Also, the immediate relief sometimes offered to patients feeds my own need for more immediate gratification with patient care and outcome than other areas of medicine.
I look at the whole patient and try to understand their needs within the realm of their family and their specific stage of cancer. I then try to choose the best long-term approach for every patient. I believe that our multispecialty approach to cancer benefits patients. For example, we encourage our prostate cancer patients to consider all types of treatment available to them at Fox Chase, as well as outside of the institution, prior to a final decision.
As a full-time physician at Fox Chase, I have no financial pressure to suggest surgery over a non-surgical option. Rather, I offer the best treatment plan individually tailored to the needs of the patient. I also stress quality as well as quantity of life issues. I am not afraid to tell a patient that surgery is not indicated if it is not in their best interest--even if they had decided that was how they wanted to be treated prior to our consultation. Learning whom to operate on and how to operate, but also whom not to operate on is a skill learned over many years.
I have been a urologist for 3 decades and have seen advances in technology that are too numerous to mention--but all have helped surgeons improve outcomes. Improvements in managing infections with new antibiotics have changed the face of modern urology. Improvements in both early diagnosis and treatment of almost all of the tumors urologists treat are apparent and constantly moving toward to the goal of cure without toxicity (or side effects).
An excellent example of technological advances is the DaVinci-S surgical robot which allows me to perform laparoscopic anatomical nerve sparing prostatectomies in appropriate patients. Learning this technical skill has been a worthwhile endeavor as it has improved the quality of care I can deliver to those patients with early stage prostate cancer.
Follow on Twitter:@FCUroOnc
- Residency, General Surgery, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
- Residency, Surgery (Urology), New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
- Residency, Surgery (Urology), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
- MD, Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY, 1976
- AUA Board of Urology 1985, 1995, 2005, 2015
- Society of Urologic Oncology
- American Urological Association
- Philadelphia Urological Society
- American College of Surgeons, Fellow
Honors & Awards
- Philadelphia Magazine Top Docs, 2009-2015
- Best Doctors in America®, Best Doctors Inc., 2014
As a retired surgeon, Stephen Harkavy understood the importance of having an annual physical, including a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test to indicate his risk of prostate cancer. In fall 2008, at the age of 65, Stephen began to experience frequent urination, a common symptom of prostate cancer. While he was not concerned with his PSA levels, he did note the velocity at which his levels were climbing. He met with his local urologist, who ordered a biopsy.
Peter Vaccaro's journey with testicular cancer began in 1998, when he was just 31. Suffering from chronic back pain, Pete underwent an X-ray. "The next thing I knew, my family doctor called to say he needed to see me and my wife in his office. When I insisted he tell me why, he explained that they saw a mass on my abdomen. It looked like cancer. My world literally slowed down. This was completely out of the blue."
In March 2009, New Jersey police officer Peter Hagerty was experiencing groin pain when he was getting in and out of his patrol car. Like many men his age, Peter shrugged it off for two weeks. By the third week, after realizing his testicle was rock hard, Peter told his wife, Eryn, an advanced life support paramedic. "Eryn sent me right to the doctor," recalled Peter, whose primary doctor referred him directly to a urologist. An ultrasound performed later the same day showed a tumor and the doctor suspected it was cancer.
In July 2009, Jay Kernan was referred to a local urologist to treat urinary bleeding and pain. Following several rounds of tests, Jay was diagnosed with advanced stage bladder cancer. “The urologist suggested I see an expert at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia,” shares Jay, who resides with his wife, Gaetana, in a rural section of Salem County, NJ. Gaetana expressed her desire for Jay to be treated in Philadelphia, where more advanced cancer treatment is available. Jay called Fox Chase and made an appointment with Richard E.
Ginny Ingaran isn’t a woman to take no for an answer. When her husband Ray was first diagnosed with cancer in 1992, he was a 52-year-old firefighter in Philadelphia. “Fox Chase Cancer Center wasn’t in his network, so we had to go to our local hospital,” she recalls. What was diagnosed as prostate cancer turned out to be a large abdominal mass. The surgery didn’t go well, the tumor broke apart and Ray lost a lot of blood, along with part of his colon.
Ray's wife, Ginny, was determined for Ray to get treated at Fox Chase.
Surgical Apgar Score predicts an increased risk of major complications and death after renal mass excision.Ito T, Abbosh PH, Mehrazin R, Tomaszewski JJ, Li T, et al.The Journal of urology. 2015; 193(6):1918-22.PubMed
Is extended pharmacologic venous thromboembolism prophylaxis uniformly safe after radical cystectomy? Mehrazin R, Piotrowski Z, Egleston B, Parker D, Tomaszweski JJ, et al.Urology. 2014; 84(5):1152-6. PubMed