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Jack Pressman was diligent about having an annual physical exam. As the owner of a Minuteman Press, in Bala Cynwyd, PA, he could not afford to be sick. In 2009, when Jack and his wife Donna learned that his PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood work came back with elevated numbers, they grew concerned. PSA numbers often indicate a risk of prostate cancer. A second round of testing sent Jack to a urologist for a biopsy. That is when Jack learned he had prostate cancer that was localized (had not spread) which can often be cured with surgery.
Jack's doctor sent him to Fox Chase Cancer Center to find a surgeon trained on the da Vinci robot.
Jack asked the urologist, "What would you do if you were me? I'm a 61-year-old man in good health with prostate cancer." The doctor answered, "I would find a surgeon at Fox Chase who can remove the cancer using the da Vinci robot." And Jack did just that.
"Hearing the word, 'cancer,' can be very disturbing," admitted Jack. "Your whole life passes before you and for me, I thought about my children and grandchildren." His first appointment was with Rosalia Viterbo, MD, a urologic surgeon at Fox Chase who is specially trained to use the robot.
"We were thrilled with Dr. Viterbo."
"We were thrilled with Dr. Viterbo. After we talked, I felt completely confident in her care," shared Jack. During pre-admission testing, however, pathologists at Fox Chase discovered a small lesion on Jack's kidney. After evaluating the situation, Dr. Viterbo recommended proceeding with the prostatectomy. Once Jack recovered, she would perform a partial nephrectomy (removing the tumor and a portion of the kidney) in order to preserve function of the organ.
"Because of the size and location of the tumor on Jack's left kidney, I believed we could wait and perform the procedure once he recovered," explained Dr. Viterbo.
Back at work 2 weeks post surgery.
In February of 2009, Jack was admitted for his prostate surgery and was home in 3 days. "I felt great," he recalled. After 2 weeks, he was back at work part-time. "I run a true family business. I work with my wife and my daughter, so I wanted to get back as soon as I was able."
A second diagnosis of cancer brought Jack back to Dr. Viterbo as Fox Chase's 1,000th da Vinci patient.
Jack began to do research on-line and was relieved to learn that Dr. Viterbo specialized in kidney, as well as prostate, surgery - and was board-certified in the robotic approach.
Once Dr. Viterbo determined that Jack was fully recovered from his first procedure, he was scheduled for his partial nephrectomy on November 17, 2009 - an historic day at Fox Chase. When Jack woke up after his kidney procedure, he learned that he had the 1,000th robotic surgery for cancer at Fox Chase.
"I thought it was pretty cool to be the 1,000th patient for the robot."
Jack now calls himself, "Mr. Roboto." He admitted that while he was already confident in Dr. Viterbo's abilities and put his trust in her, but after hearing how often they use the robot, Jack knew he was in good hands.
Jack described Dr. Viterbo as having a wonderful bedside manner. "All of the people at Fox Chase are terrific. I've been to my share of hospitals over the years, but have never met so many nice people. They don't keep you waiting and it is easy to tell that they really care about their patients."