Two years ago, Joseph Zucchero, a Chicago-area dentist, was told something that set his teeth on edge. During an annual physical examination, his physician discovered that Dr. Zucchero had developed prostate cancer.
Dr. Zucchero decided to undergo surgery to remove the cancerous growths. Yet following the surgery, he had to live with the probability that the cancer could come back, and he knew he would have to vigilantly watch for signs of recurrence for the rest of his life.
At age 59, Dr. Zucchero is considered a young prostate cancer patient who has the sunny possibility of many years of good living ahead. That is why it is so important for him to be wary of any new indications that the cancer may have resurfaced or metastasized.
"I wanted someone else to review my medical documents to check for any return of the cancer and to evaluate the likelihood of a recurrence," he says. "I was given an article to read on the subject of prostate cancer, and I decided to contact the lead author, Dr. Stephenson of Cleveland Clinic."
Urologist Andrew Stephenson, M.D., is on staff at Cleveland Clinic's Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute and Taussig Cancer Institute. "He told me about the services offered by Cleveland Clinic and suggested I use the MyConsult program as an easy way to obtain a second opinion," Dr. Zucchero notes.
The MyConsult® Online Medical Second Opinion program is a sophisticated, Web-based extension of Cleveland Clinic's 90-plus-year role as one of America's most respected referral institutions. The secure, online program provides medical second opinions from Cleveland Clinic specialists for more than 1,200 life-threatening and life-changing diagnoses.
"The MyConsult service was excellent," says Dr. Zucchero. "The MyConsult nurses and office personnel I dealt with were very efficient and helpful. They knew how to answer my questions and had obviously been trained appropriately. Within two weeks after sending in my medical information, I received a very thorough report back from Cleveland Clinic.
"The second opinion from the Cleveland Clinic physicians basically paralleled the advice I had received from my local physicians, although there were a few variances," he adds. "They also gave me suggestions for how to monitor myself, which is something I will always have to do."
According to the American Cancer Society, 99% of all men with prostate cancer can expect to live at least five years after an initial diagnosis is made. Roughly 93% will survive another 10 years, and 77% will live another 15. In fewer than 10% of cases, the cancer has already spread far beyond the prostate gland at the time of diagnosis. In these cases, only about 32% of the men live for another five years.
With two grown sons, a busy pediatric dental practice and a passion for golfing, Dr. Zucchero has much to live for. "I considered Cleveland Clinic's reputation of superior specialty care, and I wanted to see how their physicians would evaluate my situation," he says.
"When I called the MyConsult Clinical Operations office, I appreciated not having to listen to telephone prompts," Zucchero notes. "You actually get to talk with a knowledgeable person. What made the experience so pleasant for me was the fact that the people I dealt with were courteous and well trained. They immediately knew what to do and how to direct me to the proper individual.
"MyConsult is a convenient way for people to get a second opinion without having to travel to Cleveland," he asserts. "If people have the appropriate test results and paperwork that can be emailed or faxed, then this is a good option. The experience I had with MyConsult was very positive."