Anyone looking at Adam Zaic would have seen a perfectly healthy, 24-year-old man. He spent his days working hard at his family’s business and evenings with his wife, Jessa – nothing seemed out of the ordinary. That picture, however, would change on January 15, 2020. While at work, seemingly out of nowhere, Adam was overcome by an excruciating pain in his groin.
“On a scale of one to 10, this pain was a definite 10,” said Adam, now 26. “I had no warning, not even a twinge beforehand; it came as a complete shock.”
Adam’s mother and brother quickly rushed him to the emergency room at Saddleback Medical Center. After blood tests, X-rays, a computed tomography (CT) scan and an ultrasound, the doctors had a likely diagnosis: testicular cancer.
The next afternoon, he consulted with urologist Erik Pasin, M.D., who confirmed the cancer diagnosis and found a mass on Adam’s left testicle that had already spread to lymph nodes in his lower abdomen.
Instead of a biopsy, which presents a risk of spreading testicular cancer, Adam underwent a nerve-sparing surgical procedure to remove the affected testicle one week later. The next step was chemotherapy to target the affected lymph nodes.
A life-changing treatment
With MemorialCare’s extensive health network, Adam was able to meet with Jack Jacoub, M.D., medical director of the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center. Dr. Jacoub met with Adam in February and presented two treatment options, but strongly recommended the more aggressive of the two.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in treating testicular cancer,” Dr. Jacoub said. “We’ve refined our approaches and we know which treatment will provide the best outcome for each different type.”
Adam’s nine-week treatment began in mid-February. Three of the weeks required extensive chemotherapy all day, while the other weeks a shot was administered along with two hours of treatment.
When he wasn’t at chemotherapy, Adam was sleeping 16 hours a day. Jessa was there every step of the way, from driving him to the appointments and taking care of day-to-day needs.
Any age, almost anyone
Adam finished his chemotherapy on April 13, 2020, just days before he turned 25. His story serves as a demonstration for how testicular cancer can affect any man at any age – in fact, it’s the most common malignancy among men 20 to 40 years old.
Dr. Jacoub recommends that men self-examine regularly and explained that an official examination is typically performed by a medical professional during a routine checkup.
“It’s important that men are aware of changes happening to their bodies, because the earlier the cancer is caught, the better the outcome,” Dr. Jacoub said. “Some tumors might cause pain or a feeling of heaviness in the lower belly or scrotum, but more often, the first symptom is a lump on the testicle or swelling.”
Despite his difficult journey, Adam is thankful that the team at Orange Coast Medical Center provided the right care for him to overcome testicular cancer and uses his journey as an opportunity to educate other men who may find themselves in a similar position.
“Everyone at the Infusion Center at the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center truly cared, and equally important, they knew what they were doing to save me,” Adam shared. “I am lucky to have survived. Now I feel like it’s up to me to educate other men, especially men in their twenties and early thirties.”
To learn more about cancer treatment options at the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center, click here.
1. “Testicular Cancer Statistics." Johns Hopkins Medicine.
How Two Hours Can Change a Life
The MR-guided focused ultrasound procedure continues to produce incredible outcomes for patients with essential tremor.
Bob Mattice’s hands were shaking violently as the radiology and neuroscience teams prepared him for a two-hour procedure that would change his life. The magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) treatment would virtually eliminate the essential tremor in his dominant hand and restore his ability to perform daily tasks, such as eating, drinking and writing.
The Huntington Beach resident had suffered from essential tremor since childhood. As Bob’s condition worsened with age, he stayed up-to-date with the latest procedures and was excited to learn that a non-invasive option was coming to Orange Coast Medical Center.
Orange Coast Medical Center is one of just three hospitals in California to offer the MR-guided focused ultrasound procedure.
“MRgFUS combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and focused ultrasound to access a tiny structure buried deep in the brain,” explained Devin K. Binder M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon and medical director of the MemorialCare Neuroscience Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center. “Hundreds of ultrasound beams pass through the skull, heating the tissue with a tiny, therapeutic burn that interrupts the tremor circuit.”
Dr. Binder performs around 10 of these procedures per month and has treated more than three dozen patients. The effects are immediate – patients who previously could not hold a fork or pen are able to sign their names clearly just a couple hours later.
Watch Bob Mattice’s story by clicking here. For more information on the MR-guided focused ultrasound procedure, click here, call (800) 758-5817, email email@example.com.
What if a patient doesn’t qualify for MRgFUS?
Because MRgFUS is only indicated for one-sided treatment in the dominant hand, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a highly effective solution for patients with tremors in both hands. DBS requires physical placements of electrodes in the brain, making it a more invasive – but still highly effective – solution that Dr. Binder has performed on hundreds of patients.
Improving Senior Health
Edinger Medical Group (EMG), a proud affiliate of Orange Coast Medical Center, made strides in early 2020 to better support their senior patients by creating an entire department dedicated specifically for them. The Senior Care Coordinator (SCC) team provides personalized support by answering questions and arranging appointments, medical messages and lab work.
“With our guidance, we can be a part of the solution and connect seniors with the healthcare they need,” said Jessica Salvador, C.M.A., senior care coordinator at EMG.
All senior patients with a Medicare Advantage Plan at Edinger Medical Group gain exclusive access to the senior care coordinators with a direct phone line and dedicated email address.