Cancer Survivor Stories
I Am A Cancer Survivor
Meet our patients who bravely share their journeys to becoming cancer survivors. You inspire us every day!
5 Years Cancer-Free from Prostate Cancer
In 2015 my PSA rose 0.5 every 6 months. Dr. Mitchell Kotler was my urologist that was tenacious and continued to have a questioning attitude. I had two biopsy (12 point) over a year period and then a 24 point biopsy in the hospital in 2016. We finally found the cancer in the prostate that was identified in October 2016. I elected to get the prostate removed in March 2017 and the pathology found another area in the prostate that was below the bladder. By removing the prostate, it mitigated any more spread of the disease to my body.
I am cancer-free with a PSA of < 0.1. over a 5 years period. I was fortunate to have a doctor like Mitchell Kolter. Without his methods and overall questioning to not give up on me saved my life.
Bravo Zulu (Navy term)
– Gregory S.
Cancer Free 3 1/2 Yrs
I had been going to NJ Urology since Dr. Levey was there then, and as I got older, I started going to Dr. Alan Siegel who is a wonderful caring doctor. I was there getting my regular PSA check just before I was getting married. I said to Dr. Siegel can you do a full blood workup. He said sure not a problem. Well, I no sooner got home and got a call to come back and that I had a pretty big mass in my prostate. He said that it was cancer and it would need to get surgically removed, but that he didn’t do that part. So he put me in touch with Dr. Thomas Christiano.
Let me tell you that he is the best surgeon in the world!!!!! He always was sure of himself, explained what he was going to do, and what might be the side effects. I was in the hospital waiting to get my surgery and he came to visit me. I was scared I was going to die. The whole time he told my wife and mother not to worry. He was sure that I would be fine and bounce back and said it with no hesitation. I also have to give thanks to his assistant. I don’t remember his name, but both of them should be very proud of themselves. I had a couple of weeks of downtime, but I bounced back with no side effects. He never once was unsure of the surgical procedure and never gave me false hope. It’s been 3 years now cancer-free. He saved my life and I owe him everything — the best doctor in the world hands down!!!!!
– Gary Gilfoy
Dr. Ahmed is the most amazing person!
I was diagnosed in January of 2018 and learned that I had primary bladder and lung cancer. I learned about both of them at the same time. Fortunately, I met Dr. Mutahar Ahmed and he told me about the three forms of surgery. The one I decided to go for was the neo bladder surgery.
I just fell in love with him you know…I trusted him immediately! He answered all my questions and converted me. Dr. Ahmed is the most amazing person.
People need to know that there is life after a cancer diagnosis. You gotta have faith and find what suits you. Go with your gut, which is what I did with Dr. Ahmed. So here I am. I go out and do everything I did before. I’m shopping, cooking, and gardening…I feel amazing!
– Sylvia Razzo
Celebrating National #CancerSurvivors Day!
Life after cancer is something worth celebrating. And a better quality of life for ALL cancer survivors is worth fighting for. Let’s #CelebrateLife and raise awareness of the challenges of cancer survivorship in honor of National Cancer Survivors Day. #NCSD2021
Thank You Dr. Gejerman!
When I was first diagnosed, I was naturally scared. There were three doctors that I had chosen to speak with. When I came to see Dr. Glen Gejerman, he put it right on the table – asked me questions to answer. He made me very, very comfortable and before I left that office, I told him he was the doctor I chose.
When I came into the radiation room, the staff made you very relaxed and comfortable, because you’re very uneasy in this environment with this huge machine. They tell you it will be about two minutes tops and, before you know it, it’s over and done.
The doors opened up – life after treatment is wonderful! When I chose Dr. Gejerman, it was for many reasons. One, he talked to me not only as a doctor but as a guy that really, really cared. That’s what put me over the top and that’s when I put all my trust and faith in him. He was my angel, he was my angel.
– Michael Secli
In 2003, I was on a medication that long term, can create kidney stones. My MD ordered a US scan just to make sure I didn’t have any stones forming up in the kidneys. I didn’t, but I did have a renal cell malignant mass on my right kidney. My MD referred me to NJ Urology and then Dr. Domenico Savatta.
After reviewing my US and CT scans, he reviewed several options I had. He did this in a calm and re-assuring voice and answered all our questions and concerns my wife and I had in a very supportive and confident matter. Being 56 yrs. old and finding out you have cancer; we needed his assurances snd support. We chose surgery and it was done at BI hospital using the Da Vinci Robotic system, which Dr. Savatta was one of the first trained and using at the time. Because of that, he was able to completely remove the mass and not have to remove the kidney. I was home the next day and f/u at NJ Urology was excellent.
Forward to 2010, my 6 month PSA check the # went up a little bit but still normal. Dr. Savatta felt uneasy about that so he ordered a more accurate blood test which came back normal. Two days later Dr. Savatta called and said it was a high normal and felt we should do a biopsy just to be safe. We did an it came back positive for cancer. Although not related to the kidney cancer, we agreed on surgery. So, 7 yrs. to the day, my prostate was removed using Da Vinci again. Dr. Savatta assured me that the cancer was contained within the prostate and my bladder my bladder and surrounding tissue were clean of disease. No radiation required!
I can’t say enough about the staff at NJU. They are caring and supportive. They make you feel that everything is going to be OK. In regard to Dr. Savatta, there just isn’t enough time or space to say how much he has impacted my life. I truly believe without him, my life may have taken a different path. It is now 2020 and with all the issues and fears we’re dealing with, Dr. Savatta continues to create Happy Endings.
– Walter Drury
Thanks Doctor Savatta
I am writing to thank Dr. Domenico Savatta and NJ Urology. I was recommended to NJ Urology by a co-worker after having issues with my PSA. Initially I met and spoke to Dr. Alan Kreiger who explained, watched and eventually did a biopsy which came back positive. I was thoroughly told what my options were and chose to have my prostate removed by Doctor Savatta.
Being scared and nervous, I was lucky to have two Doctors that had my best interest in mind. The ease and comfort talking to and dealing with Doctor Savatta is unexplainable, it’s like talking to an old friend. I had my surgery two years and 3 months ago and. to date, everything is fine.
I would highly recommend Doctor Savatta and NJ Urology and give them the highest rating possible. And a big thank you to his whole staff for making my situation stress-free!
– Barry Marcinczyk
A Special Healthcare Team
I found out that I had prostate cancer over 2 years ago. I had prostate infections on and off over many years and was under the care of Dr. Louis Galdieri at NJU. My annual healthcare exam showed my PSA was rising and my family doctor, Dr. Suarez, recommended I check back with Dr. Galdieri thinking that it was another infection acting up.
We tried the antibiotic treatments for a few weeks and my PSA continued to rise. Dr. Galdieri suggested getting a biopsy done and it came back positive for cancer. When my wife and I returned to his office to go over my options, he recommended robotic surgery and said that Dr. Domenico Savatta was one of the top doctors in this field of this type of surgery.
My appointment with Dr. Savatta to review my test and set up a date for surgery went extremely well. He is a doctor with much belief and confidence that he would heal my health problem. He explained everything that I needed to know beforehand and after the surgery for recovery. The surgery was done at Beth Israel Hospital and went as planned. Everyone in the hospital were very helpful and caring. I was sent home the next day and returned to the office of Dr. Savatta 2 days later for my follow up. All went well. He explained the cancer was contained to the prostate and he saved all surrounding nerves.
Dr. Savatta took the time to explain to my wife and myself exactly what to expect with my healing process. I left his office feeling great knowing that I made the right decision. Today as I write this I just recently had my semi-annual 6-month checkup and feel as confident as ever in the decisions I made for my healthcare. I again want to thank all of the members of the NJU staff for taking such good care of me. I would highly recommend anyone who needs robotic surgery to choose Dr. Savatta.
– Harry D’Aloia
Lots to be thankful for
I was being checked for another condition and something appeared suspicious on my kidney. Dr. Domenico Savatta was called in and confirmed a problem. He performed a successful surgery that is perfect as of today. The continuing care in my almost 5 years is a bit amazing.
Not only is Dr. Savatta thorough but is very easy to communicate with. The entire staff in his office are so great at their jobs and so caring and friendly. I look forward to my follow up visits……what could be better than hearing good news and being with such a wonderful group.
– Saul Leff
My story is not unique, but comes from a thankful heart. Like many, my father had prostate cancer so at age 40, I began yearly PSA tests. My nurse practitioner called because for the first time, at age 54, my number went over 1. Not an alarming number for me but she wanted to be cautious. After visiting a physician who was unclear on direction, I went to DVU (now NJ Urology) at the recommendation of my sister-in-law.
From the first visit at Mt. Laurel, I knew I was with a trusted group. Two biopsies later, prostate cancer was found, operated on and I made a full recovery. The aggressiveness higher than the biopsy showed and I cannot be thankful enough to my physicians for their approach and care. Hoping my two sons will never see this cancer. We’re proud to support yearly walks with Zero. With a grateful heart and family, I am a survivor.
– Roger Weiss
Thanking NJU (formerly Delaware Valley Urology)
I was working during the summer of 2016. As I was driving I felt uncomfortable. I used donut cushions and nothing I did helped relieve the discomfort. I got an appointment with my Proctologist thinking it was my Colon. After an exam Dr. Irwin said my prostate was enlarged and he recommended me to Dr. David Sussman at Delaware Urology, now New Jersey Urology. Dr. Sussman did an exam and confirmed I had an enlarged Prostate. He ordered a biopsy of the Prostate; the test came back with 8 out of 12 Gleason 8 and higher. I then met with Dr. Gordon Brown and discussed surgery, I also met with Dr. Mertz about Radiation treatment. I chose the surgery, I had the surgery Dec 16, 2016. I had 40 radiation treatments.
I am Cancer-free with 0 PSA to date. I want to thank Dr. Sussman, Dr. Gordon Brown (surgeon), and Dr. Mertz (radiation), and also the Wonderful Staff who were ALL VERY PROFESSIONAL during my visits at the office.
Thank You All,
A Tough Hurdle
When I was first diagnosed with Prostate cancer, I was scared, I had never had cancer before. I was stunned because I was only 59 years old and thought if I was going to get Prostate cancer, I would get it in my seventies. I was also stunned that I had been diagnosed with Prostate cancer with such a low PSA of 1.9.
Although I was diagnosed with cancer, I was very fortunate to have a wife who is very knowledgeable, and my rock in helping me choose the perfect surgeon in Dr. Gordon Brown for my R.R.P.P. She was with me every step of the way, from being diagnosed, going thru surgery, and recovery at home.
A special thank you to Dr. Mitchell Kotler for finding my cancer at its early stage, Dr. Gordon Brown who performed the R.R.P.P. surgery, and my wife as the perfect care giver. With Faith, family, and friends, I am now 2 years cancer-free.
– Michael Spina
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. Under the care of my primary doctor and my urologist, it was watched for progression for 2 years. It became more aggressive in 2015 and I qualified to have radiation therapy, under the supervision of the Chair of the Oncology Dept, another amazing doctor. Today I am here to write this cancer-free.
– Carl S.
Thank you Dr. Michael Bernstein!
In 2004 I had a bad kidney stone. While being treated by Dr. Michael Bernstein he noticed a minute cyst on one of my kidneys. He monitored it for years but it got to the point that the cancerous cyst resulted in a kidney removal. During that time Dr. Bernstein also monitored my enlarged prostate. When my PSA numbers continued to rise, he calmly explained all of my options. I chose radiation therapy. I went faithfully to every treatment.
I met and made friends with the other men during that time. I always kept a positive attitude and never experienced any bad effects. My PSA numbers have dropped dramatically. I’m sincerely grateful that I had such an intelligent, patient, kind and professional doctor to keep me informed, reassure me and guide me through this journey. Thank you Dr. Bernstein!
– Jay Grear
Dr. Alan Krieger
All cancer drugs given to me by an oncologist destroyed my entire body…prednisone is poison. I was in terrible condition. Thanks to Dr. Alan Krieger, I’m cancer-free and doing fabulous! He’s not only a great doctor, he’s a great man. Dr. Krieger saved my life.
– Frank DiLollo
Early 2019 I had an elevated PSA. Since my dad had prostate cancer I immediately sought out a urologist. My in-laws recommended Dr. Gregory Lovallo. From our first meeting I felt very comfortable. Dr. Lovallo did not hesitate to send me for an MRI and then a biopsy.
In April I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Needless to say hearing the word “cancer” hits you like a ton of bricks and knowing what it had done to my father I wept. But Dr. Lovallo was there for me, he explained in detail my options, answering all my questions with such patience. Within one month of my diagnosis, I had my prostate removed. Although I certainly was terrified of surgery, I was confident that I was in good hands.
Last week’s PSA – one year after surgery, I am Cancer-free, feeling fantastic with no side effects. I owe it all to Dr. Lovallo who was with me from day one. His knowledge, and compassion is impeccable. Also, his staff who is so professional and responsive. Thank you everyone. Stay healthy everyone and get yourself checked.
– Frank Speers
Positive thinking is better than worrying.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and soon after a small cancerous growth was found on my kidney. Dr. Thomas Mueller was in control of the situation and assured me that moving forward with proper procedures and care, everything would be fine. I entered a clinical program for the prostate issue, and had surgery for the kidney growth. The kidney is cancer free, and we continue to monitor the prostate. My feeling is positive thinking allows me not to worry about cancer. I have complete faith in my Doctor and his vision.
– Tom Storer
TWO TIME CANCER SURVIVOR
First, thank you Dr’s Martin Goldstein and Mutahar Ahmed. I am now a two-time cancer survivor that began, although I didn’t know it at the time on 9/11. Thanks to these great doctors, I am here today to thank them and Hackensack Hospital. I am a lucky guy who found a great team.
– Nicholas Cerchio
Dr. Mutahar Ahmed is an excellent doctor and skilled surgeon. Had Robotic nerve sparing prostatectomy in March 2019, with great results. Dr. Ahmed and his surgical team are second to none! With regards to a nerve sparing robotic prostatectomy, I wanted a surgeon that performed at the least hundreds if not thousands, and that is why I decided on Dr. Ahmed. The office staff is wonderful, as well. To Dr. Ahmed and his surgical team – Thank You!!! I Highly Recommend Dr. Ahmed.
– Angelo D.
Stress Free Fight with Cancer
I was diagnosed with bladder cancer by a young, very uncompassionate urologist 9 years ago. While alone and still on the exam table, he discussed bladder removal, literally blaming me that my smoking caused the cancer. I left the office scared, alone and in a trance, knowing I would never return.
I was referred by a friend to Dr. Gregory Lovallo and got my appointment quickly. On my first visit, scared and shaking, Dr. Lovallo immediately took my hand and after looking at my tests, said, “You are not going to die from this, but you and I will be seeing a lot of each other for many years!”. I then had a very minor surgery, a transurethral resection, which was basically a scraping of the inside of my bladder. I was very fortunate because the cancer had not spread outside of my bladder. I continued to have cystoscopies and urine FISH tests every three months, then 6 months, then yearly as time passed.
Since Dr. Lovallo admits to having “MD OCD”, any time he saw a speck inside of my bladder, he would remove it! As he claims, bladder cancer is like weeds, it can grow back. However, I have so much confidence in him, I KNOW that he will “attack” any little thing he sees in my bladder before it has a chance to grow back! Both Dr. Lovallo and his assistant, Josephine, ALWAYS make me relax, they treat me like family, not just a patient. Every visit, I am anxious, expecting bad news, but the minute I see their faces, I know that whatever news is coming, Dr. Lovallo will give it to me gently, with compassion and even his own brand of humor! I highly recommend New Jersey Urology and especially Dr. Lovallo and feel that no one could take better care of me!!!
– Maryann Skaflestad
Blessed with the Best
In June of 2009, I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. I was terrified. Then I met Dr. Gregory Lovallo. He was able to quell my fears without sugar coating the possibilities. He is my hero.
– Julia Napolitano