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Raising hogs, cattle, turkey and chickens on 187 acres in rural Telford doesn't give Kermit Moyer much free time. But in 2009, when a bout of pneumonia at age 58 forced the lifelong farmer to take a break and visit his family doctor, even he was surprised to hear it had been 18 years since his last check up. "He wasn't happy with me,” said Kermit. Although he had no symptoms, and thought nothing of working 12-hour days, his PSA (prostate specific antigen) numbers were off the chart. PSA levels indicate a man's likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Further testing confirmed that Kermit did in fact have prostate cancer.
At his local hospital, Kermit's doctor recommended invasive prostate surgery, but he worried about recovery time. "It's just my wife, Pat, and I, running our farm and she recently went back to work. I have a very physical job and I couldn't afford to be off my feet,” shared Kermit. "When an 1,800 pound beef cow doesn't want to move, you've got your hands full.”
"I knew that having robotic surgery was the best option for me."
Kermit did his homework and learned about robotic prostate surgery offered at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "After meeting with a specially trained robotic surgeon at Fox Chase, I knew that having robotic surgery was the best option for me,” said Kermit, who had the procedure performed successfully in June 2009. When his Fox Chase surgeon relocated to another part of the country, Kermit became a patient of Rosalia Viterbo, MD, a urologic surgeon who specializes in minimally-invasive approaches to treatment, including robotic-assisted surgery.
"Within about 3 months, I was doing well,” he said. He couldn't do any heavy lifting though, and bouncing around on a tractor was definitely not recommended. Kermit's daughter, Jamie, took time off from her job in Harrisburg to run the farm for 8 weeks while her dad got back on his feet. "I did what I could, and we didn't miss a day,” he said. "My animals were fed, we made all the feed and all the stalls were cleaned. It had to get done.”
"Fox Chase - Buckingham offers patients a caring, friendly and encouraging environment."
Although he was feeling fine, Kermit's PSA levels started to increase. His surgeon consulted with Dr. Shelly Hayes, a radiation oncologist from Fox Chase's Buckingham facility. According to Dr. Hayes, "Kermit's PSA began to rise after surgery, indicating residual cancer cells in the prostate bed, thus necessitating radiation." She started him on a course of treatment that proved to be successful.
"Buckingham is only about 40 minutes away, and when I got there, I just liked everybody so much.” During his 35 treatments, Kermit's positive feeling toward Dr. Hayes and her staff continued to get stronger. "Fox Chase - Buckingham offers patients a caring, friendly and encouraging environment,” he said. "I was scared. I had recently lost a friend to prostate cancer. If it wasn't for Fox Chase, I might not have made it myself. I can't ever say enough about what they did for me.”