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When Joseph Bove went to his doctor for his annual physical exam, he had a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. His doctor ordered a biopsy after seeing that Joe's test showed higher-than-normal levels of PSA, a protein in the blood used to help diagnose cancer, enlarged prostate and other conditions. At the age of 54, Joe learned he had prostate cancer.
"This news came at a difficult time for me. Due to the economy, I had to close my printing business and look for other business opportunities," Joe recalled.
Exploring His Options
Joe's local doctor in Delaware was leaning toward surgery for Joe. Reluctant to have surgery, Joe began to research his options. He learned that radiation therapy can be equally as effective as surgery in treating patients with prostate cancer.
Through his research, Joe also came across a state-of-the-art technology, called Calypso®. This technology, he found out, is available at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
"I figured Fox Chase was the best place to go if you have cancer."
"Even though Fox Chase is in Philadelphia and I live in Delaware, I knew I should go there," Joe thought. "One of my co-workers was treated there and is doing great today. I figured Fox Chase was the best place to go if you have cancer."
More Precise Radiation Treatment
In late 2007, Joe met with a radiation oncologist at Fox Chase who specializes in treating prostate cancer patients. His oncologist recommended eight weeks of daily radiation treatment. By using Calypso, he was able to pinpoint and track the prostate throughout Joe's treatment. This allowed for more precise and accurate radiation targeting and treatment. Accuracy can help to protect healthy tissue near the tumor, thus reducing side effects.
"In the waiting room, the other patients and I formed our own informal support group."
During his radiation appointments, Joe met other men going through the same treatment. He recalled, "We still keep in touch, checking in on each other, comparing notes and getting updates. In the waiting room, the other patients and I formed our own informal support group.
"I heard that our local hospital in Delaware doesn't even offer this treatment, which makes me even more sure I did the right thing by going to Fox Chase,” said Joe.
"My oncologist is the best. I feel so grateful that I met him."
"Everyone at Fox Chase was excellent," Joe added. "My oncologist is the best. I feel so grateful that I met him. And his staff is great too!"
In 2009, Joe was diagnosed again with prostate cancer and faced limited options because of his insurance. Although he was able to go to Fox Chase previously, he was now covered by his late wife’s insurance. After meetings with different doctors who couldn’t seem to provide a clear course of action to treat this latest challenge, Joe was able to reach out to the community he established at Fox Chase. Despite the grim prediction that he would only have two more years left to live, Joe thankfully reach out to Dr. Horwitz, MD, at Fox Chase. “Dr. Horwitz got the ball rolling,” Joe recalls and was able to help Joe navigate the confusing and frustrating insurance issues he was facing. Ultimately, Joe was able to work with a new oncologist in Delaware close to his home thanks to Dr. Horwitz. He couldn’t be more grateful today in 2015 for his close connections and the support of the Fox Chase team.