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After watching his father undergo prostate cancer treatment, and later lose his life to stomach cancer, Carlos Perez knew that he was at increased risk of developing cancer himself. "That is why I started to have my PSA levels checked from the time I was in my early 40s," he explained. For many years, Carlos was told that his levels were in the normal range.
Carlos learned that things were more complicated than he had originally thought.
Just as Carlos was beginning to enjoy retirement from a 28-year career with SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority), doctors determined he had a kidney stone. During testing at a community hospital, doctors decided to biopsy his prostate due to suspicious blood work. Within a short amount of time, Carlos learned that things were more complicated than he had originally thought. He had prostate cancer.
"I was so relieved to learn Fox Chase had a team of surgeons who are trained on the robot."
"The doctor suggested open surgery. I wasn't interested. I decided to research my options on the Internet. After reading about the many benefits of a new technology called the da Vinci robot, I was sold," said Carlos. "I knew about Fox Chase Cancer Center, so I checked out their web site. I was so relieved to learn Fox Chase had a team of surgeons who are trained on the robot. My decision was made!"
Carlos made an appointment with David Chen, MD, a surgical oncologist who specializes in urologic cancers, such as prostate cancer.
"Dr. Chen explained all of my options."
Carlos recalled, "Dr. Chen explained all of my options, including the various types of radiation and surgery. He confirmed I was a candidate for robotic surgery, which was great because I wanted the cancer out of my body right away."
Carlos told Dr. Chen, "I'm leaving myself in your hands." During the surgery, Dr. Chen was able to save Carlos' nerves and he experienced very few side effects. "Dr. Chen is very good and so professional."
"I was up and around the day after surgery."
"I was up and around the day after surgery. The floor nurses were very good to me. I can't say enough good things about them," said Carlos.
"I started working as a volunteer at Fox Chase, which I really enjoy."
Carlos and his wife, Serafina, are blessed with 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren. "One of our daughters had twin boys very prematurely. Now that I'm feeling well, we are able to help with the babies during the week," Carlos explained. "In addition, I started working as a volunteer at Fox Chase, which I really enjoy. I speak fluent Spanish, so I am able to assist with translation!"
"Men in my community are afraid to be tested and even more afraid of the side effects. I am here to say that it wasn't so bad."
Carlos believes that within his community - as with many others - men feel that prostate cancer threatens their manhood. He explains, "Men in my culture are afraid to be tested and even more afraid of the side effects. I am here to say that it wasn't so bad. I encourage other men to have their PSA levels checked often. I'm very happy with my decision to go to Fox Chase."