“Knowing the world is looking to the Abramson Cancer Center empowered me, and it should empower us all, to support these men and women whose groundbreaking treatments are finding solutions for previously unsolvable problems.”—Cynthia Horowitz, cancer survivor and partner in hope
From Pennsylvania to California, and Europe to Asia, physicians from around the country and globe are traveling to the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) to observe and learn about TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS)—a groundbreaking surgical approach that removes previously un-reachable tumors found in the mouth, voice box, tonsil, tongue, and other parts of the throat.
Penn Medicine is home to the world’s first TORS Program, helping to bring this innovative surgical technique to benefit of patients abroad as well as those in the Abramson Cancer Center’s ”back yard,” and serves as the international epicenter for skull-based surgery education.
One of those beneficiaries is Cynthia Horowitz, who was diagnosed with tonsil cancer in 2012, and was immediately referred by her ear, nose, and throat specialist in New Jersey to Gregory S. Weinstein, MD, FASC, co-director of the Center for Head and Neck Cancer at Penn Medicine’s ACC.
“My doctor had recently attended a TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) seminar run by Dr. Weinstein, and told me that the remarkable advancements happening in treating my cancer were happening at the Abramson Cancer Center,” Mrs. Horowitz explained.
“He said if it was he or a member of his family with tonsil cancer, Dr. Weinstein would be his only choice for surgical care.”
The Abramson Cancer Center’s Scientific and Surgical RevolutionTORS is a revolutionary minimally invasive surgery utilizing the Da Vinci® robotic surgical system that was developed by Dr. Weinstein and Dr. Bert O’Malley at Penn Medicine—that reduces healing time and significantly improves patients’ quality of life.
But it wasn’t just being in the hands of the surgeon that pioneered a revolutionary new approach to surgery that put Mrs. Horowitz at ease. It was the attentive care she was given by her entire cancer care team.
“When I came to my first appointment with Dr. Weinstein I had pages of questions, and valued the time and commitment he and his team gave to each and every one of them,” Mrs. Horowitz explained. “I was given all the time I needed to understand my treatment plan, and was put at ease with my options. This was incredibly important as I adjusted to my cancer diagnosis.”
While Dr. Weinstein and Mrs. Horowitz’s care team exhibited incredible compassion, the revolutionary procedure also lived up to its promise. Mrs. Horowitz’s hard-to-reach tumor was successfully removed and she is back to spending time with her two children and enjoy traveling with her husband, Larry.
“Looking at me today,” Mrs. Horowitz explained, “no one would know what I went through. I am a healthy individual with no distracting visible signs of my surgery.”
World Leaders in TransOral Robotic SurgeryAlmost a decade after the TORS program was established at Penn, the vast majority of surgeons who have established TORS programs in the United States and abroad were trained at Penn Medicine. In July 2014, the Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery hosted 240 members of the otorhinolaryngology community, representing 33 countries and 25 states during the 1st International TransOral Robot Surgery (TORS) Conference.
Penn Medicine is truly leading and teaching the world—but we are doing it with a compassionate touch.
“Every day I marvel at how far we have come, and how fortunate I am to have been a part of the scientific and surgical revolution happening at the Abramson Cancer Center—and I am in awe of the confident and compassionate care I received during my throat cancer treatment. I am so thankful to be alive and healed, and recognize that philanthropy is the key to continuing these innovative advancements.”