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Skin Cancer Patient Stories, Surgical Treatment for Prostate Cancer Patient Stories, Prostate Risk Assessment Program Patient Stories
As a Philadelphia street cop, Curt McKee spends his nights protecting the lives of the civilians that live in his territory. Curt never would have guessed that his older brother, Art, would be responsible for saving his own life.
Although Art and Curt were both keenly aware that prostate cancer ran strong in their family, it was Art, who, at age 40, voluntarily had his PSA level tested. Their father, grandfather and 4 uncles were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"I knew prostate cancer was a possibility. I guess I was in denial."
"I knew prostate cancer was a possibility, but I'm more laid back than my brother. I didn't really think it would happen to me. I guess I was in denial," said Curt. "Just after New Year's in 2008, Art came over to share some news. He told us that he had prostate cancer. At that moment, I knew it was time to get checked."
The bad news? Curt's test also came back positive for prostate cancer.
The good news? Art had spent lots of time researching the best treatment for prostate cancer - so he walked his brother through the process.
Meeting Dr. Rosalia Viterbo, who specializes in robotic-assisted surgery.
When Art was diagnosed, he looked for a surgeon who performed da Vinci robotic-assisted prostatectomy. He searched the Internet and landed on the Fox Chase Web site. He read about Dr. Rosalia Viterbo, a surgeon who spent her fellowship perfecting the procedure.
"Dr. Viterbo was excellent. She explained everything so well and that made me feel a lot better," said Curt.
Robotic surgery was appealing to Curt because it is less invasive than traditional open surgery, which translates to a speedier recovery, shorter hospital stay, no scarring and reduced side effects.
Following in his brother's footsteps.
"Like my brother, I also live close to Fox Chase so it was the easiest decision I had to make. We set up an appointment at Fox Chase and followed my brother's footsteps," said Curt.
"If you have to go through this, there is no place better than Fox Chase."
"Dr. Viterbo is A1 fantastic. Her staff was amazing, too," Curt explained. "My wife is a nurse, which was helpful as we were learning about the treatment. She was also very impressed with Fox Chase."
Curt spent one night in the hospital and recovered at home for the next several weeks. "It was so easy. Just like getting a tooth pulled!" Curt joked. "Seriously, I couldn't have had a better experience. The staff at Fox Chase was great."
A different cancer - and another successful surgery.
Though Curt's journey with prostate cancer was over, he would revisit the Fox Chase staff in 2011, when he developed skin cancer. Dr. Clifford S. Perlis, a dermatologic surgeon, successfully removed Curt's basal cell carcinoma just two weeks before Christmas, and he is again enjoying normal health.
"Dr. Perlis is aces," said Curt, who continues to receive regular screenings at Fox Chase.