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Benjamin Jackson has always been proactive about his health. He's fit and in good shape and sees his doctor for annual check-ups. These typically include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which can indicate an increased risk of prostate cancer. In October 2010, Benjamin learned that while his PSA levels weren't necessarily high, they had been increasing slightly each year. His primary doctor referred Benjamin to a local hospital for a biopsy. When the results arrived, Benjamin was asked to come to the office to discuss the results.
"That's when I learned I had prostate cancer," shared Benjamin, who admitted it felt like quite a blow. At the age of 70, this banker was commuting from Philadelphia to New York City by train every day. "My life was about to change."
During the follow up consultation, Benjamin's doctor was heavily focused on radiation as a course of treatment. “I wanted to know all of my options and he wasn't giving them to me,” said Benjamin, who decided to get a second opinion. His primary doctor recommended Fox Chase Cancer Center. When he called, Benjamin was referred to Alexander Kutikov MD, a urologic surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive procedures for prostate cancer.
“As soon as I met Dr. Kutikov, I felt very comfortable.”
“As soon as I met Dr. Kutikov, I felt very comfortable,” recalled Benjamin. “There was no pressure of any kind. He gave me the pros and cons of various surgical options, including a robotic prostectomy. He also wanted me to speak with a radiation oncologist, so I could make an educated decision.”
Dr. Kutikov arranged for Benjamin to meet with Eric Horwitz, MD, chair of the department of radiation oncology. After weighing his options, Benjamin felt most confident with surgery. Dr. Kutikov explained everything to Benjamin about the da Vinci® robotic-assisted surgery. Benjamin was admitted to Fox Chase on January 21, 2011.
“I said to Dr. Kutikov, please promise me that you’ll be the last face I see before I go under, and the first when I wake up," explained Benjamin. "And he was. Dr. Kutikov is absolutely the best.”
"I was amazed at how quickly I recovered from the robotic surgery."
The surgery was a success, with only a few small incisions required to perform the procedure. "I was amazed at how quickly I recovered from the robotic surgery," said Benjamin, who continues to be seen for periodic check-ups and has remained cancer-free.
“Everything went well. I was happy with the professionalism, the attentiveness of the doctor and staff at Fox Chase. Dr. Kutikov got me up and walking right away, which was important.”
Although the surgery took place on a Friday, Dr. Kutikov’s team was present the next day (a Saturday) to evaluate Benjamin’s progress. “He also called that morning to be sure I was being properly taken care of,” said Benjamin, who also received a phone call the night he went home. “Dr. Kutikov really stayed with me from beginning to end. That meant a lot to me. I’ve since recommended patients to him," shared Benjamin. "I definitely feel that I made the right decision to have surgery at Fox Chase, and that’s partly because of Dr. Kutikov.”
Benjamin finds that a lot of men are not comfortable talking about prostate cancer. "I'm happy to talk to anyone," offered Benjamin. "It's important to have someone who understands what you're going through." Since retiring from his banking job, Benjamin has decided to help other men through the process.