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Customer story | 25.04.2022
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Customer story | 25.04.2022

Our #MakeaDifference Series: Changing the life of Silverio Petrini

As part of our #MakeaDifference series, we’re focusing on the amazing stories our clients share with us.

As part of our #MakeaDifference series, we’re focusing on the amazing stories our clients share with us.

We’re here to make a difference in the lives of our clients - whether that’s helping to connect them with health providers they really need, solving travel headaches or simply being there during difficult times.


Mr. Petrini: from devastating cancer diagnosis to recovery

At 56, Swiss national Silverio Petrini was a healthy businessman with a keen interest in sports. His health wasn’t a concern, and he was rarely ill. He lived a great life in his adoptive country, Venezuela, with his wife and son.

However, a surprise diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer changed his life dramatically.

“It turned my life upside down,” Silverio says. “At the time in 1999, the leading clinicians gave a survival time of about two years.”

He had a PSA of over 500 - a significant indicator of prostate cancer. With the illness spreading throughout his body, his prognosis was grim. It’s estimated 90% of deaths are caused by metastatic cancer, meaning he needed serious treatment to save his life.

“My first reaction was to give up,” recounts Silverio. “I thought I should just try to give myself another two to three years of a good life.”

However, the potential ripple effect on his family and his business changed his mind.

“I told as few people as possible to avoid my business being affected, and decided to travel to leading clinics in the United States to see what they could do for me.”


A disappointing start to treatment

Silverio traveled to the MD Anderson clinic in Houston, Texas, as well as the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Both institutions told him there was nothing more they could do - again, at the time, the typical treatment was Hormone Ablation Therapy, which only worked for about six months.

“I was told by these leading doctors in first-class hospitals that I should not make any big plans for my future,” Silverio says. “It was absolutely devastating.”

However, he was determined not to give up.


A chance encounter and signs of improvement

After visiting the Presbyterian, Silverio decided to try the clinic of Dr. Robert C. Atkins, founder of the famed Atkins diet. He was recommended to try by a friend, but wasn’t sure he’d get a better response than he’d already had from other leading doctors.

Amazingly, Dr. Atkins had hope for him. “It was the first time I’d had a positive reaction from a doctor,” Silverio explains. “I’d not had any chemotherapy up until that point, so Dr. Atkins thought I had a good chance of strong improvement with this therapy.”

With the help of ASN, Silverio was able to navigate the complexities of international health insurance and get the funding for his treatments.

Silverio started an intensive infusion therapy, which immediately showed signs of improving his health. Dr. Atkins and Silverio’s family doctor at home in Caracas gave him two to four infusions per week, with Silverio regularly visiting Dr. Atkins in New York for consultations.

A unique approach - and life-changing treatment

After Silverio’s health had stabilized, Dr. Atkins recommended further treatment in Europe called hyperthermia.

Silverio found the Aeskulap Clinic in Brunnen, Switzerland. He was treated by Professor Ben Pfeifer, M.D., Ph.D., the Director for Research & Development.

Professor Pfeifer’s pioneering treatment took a new approach, helping to improve the quality of life and survival time of patients with metastatic cancer.

“He promised me a survival time of 10 years,” said Silverio. “That was life-changing for me.”


Surviving and thriving

The treatment worked so well that after 10 years, Professor Pfeifer aimed for the next ten. He continues to look after Silverio, 22 years on.

“Today my PSA is between three and four, and it’s stable,” says Silverio. “It’s a chronic disease, but it’s manageable.

“Best of all, my son has been able to pursue his own path. He didn’t have to take on my business after his Master’s degree - I’ve been able to continue doing what I love, and he has forged his own successful career.”


Thanking those who helped him along the way

Silverio is incredibly grateful to all who have helped him on his difficult journey to recovery.

“To Dr. Pfeifer and the care team who helped me, thank you for your dedication and your unique human connection to your patients,” he says.

“Thank you to my wife - without her commitment, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.

“And thank you to ASN, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to get the treatments paid.”


How ASN can help you

ASN has well-established connections with the world’s leading providers of health insurance worldwide. After 25 years of organizing premium insurance for our clients, we’re able to help you find the best coverage, no matter the treatment you need.

As you can see with Silverio’s story, we’ve been helping some of our clients for decades. They stay with us because we not only book the best international medical insurance at no extra cost, but we provide a people-first approach.

Our goal is to develop a meaningful relationship with you, so that when you’re faced with a difficult health situation, you know you can always rely on us to take care of your needs.

We’re the leading broker of expats insurance in Switzerland and further afield. Learn more about how we can help you book premium international medical insurance here, or get in touch now.

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