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Up until July 2008, Ed Bandtlow, a busy executive career coach, had been ignoring the suspicious spot on his face. A physician friend finally told Ed that he was long overdue to see a dermatologist. Ed, who admittedly dragged his feet too long, looked on-line for a doctor who used cutting edge techniques. On the Fox Chase Cancer Center web site, he found just who he was looking for - Clifford Perlis, MD, Director of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Surgery. After his initial appointment, Dr. Perlis diagnosed Ed with squamous cell carcinoma (non-melanoma skin cancer) on the left side of his face.
"Because the spot was so noticeable on my cheek, I knew I'd need a plastic surgeon, too," said Ed. "The bonus was having the opportunity to meet his colleague, Sameer Patel, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon."
"I was extremely pleased with my appearance. These guys are remarkable."
Ed had a consultation with both Dr. Perlis and Dr. Patel. The pair decided to perform Mohs micrographic surgery followed by plastic surgery to provide Ed with the best results. "I was extremely pleased with my appearance," Ed explained. "These guys are remarkable."
Shortly after his procedure, Ed believed he might have an issue with his prostate. After an exam, his urologist was concerned too - not with his prostate, but rather his kidney. Ed was referred to a urologic surgeon at another large Philadelphia teaching hospital where he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The surgeon recommended treating the cancer using open surgery to remove his kidney. This approach would have required a large incision followed by a lengthy recovery. Ed could not afford to give up work and driving for 12 weeks.
"I was very surprised to learn that I had a tumor on my kidney," recalled Ed, who began researching alternative treatment options on the Internet. "I wanted to find a doctor trained in minimally invasive surgery, like da Vinci® robotic surgery," said Ed.
"Dr. Chen answered my e-mail right away. What doctor does that?"
Ed's research landed him back on the Fox Chase web site, where he found David Chen, MD, a urologic surgeon specially trained in laparoscopic and robotic surgery. Ed sent an e-mail to Dr. Chen to inquire whether or not he might be a candidate for laparoscopic surgery. "Dr. Chen answered my e-mail right away and offered to evaluate me. I couldn't believe it. What doctor does that?" asked Ed.
After examining Ed, Dr. Chen suggested laparoscopic surgery - a minimally invasive approach to remove the kidney. Based on several factors, Dr. Chen did not think Ed was a good candidate for robotic surgery.
"When I compare my surgery experience at Fox Chase to what I could have had elsewhere, it is like night and day."
"The surgical approach didn't really matter as long as it was laparoscopic and my recovery was faster and easier," shared Ed, who only stayed in the hospital 3 nights. He walked a mile the day he went home and was able to drive just one month later. "When I compare my surgery experience at Fox Chase to what I could have had elsewhere, it is like night and day. I'm so thankful to the doctors at Fox Chase."
Today, Ed has returned to running his successful business, ExecWorth Advisor, where he has made a career of "helping people succeed - to be the most they can be." Ed, who is a widower, is also enjoying the "marvelous opportunity to live with one of my daughters and her family. I get to see my grandchildren every day. I never would have expected my life to turn out this way. But it is absolutely wonderful."