Cancer patient stories

  1. Proton Beam Therapy Gives Young Girl Good Prognosis Despite (Frightening) Diagnosis

    It's one thing to teach compassionate communication. It's another thing altogether to be on the receiving end of, "Your daughter has cancer." Learn how proton beam therapy gave Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., and her family hope.  Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., is a program director in Education and Professional Development at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, and has worked [...]

  2. Strong Advice From a Colorectal Cancer Patient

    Mike Woellert had heard people talk about colonoscopies. He didn’t hesitate, and it may have saved his life.  Friday, March 27, marked the one-year anniversary of Michael Woellert’s colorectal cancer diagnosis. It’s a day he and his wife, Malissa, remember all too well. “I was one of the last people to be called from the [...]

  3. From 'Shock' to Hope – Young Woman Shares Her Breast Cancer Journey

    In her early 30s and with “a wonderful child, wonderful husband and a great career,” Dawn DeCook-Gibson says the last thing she expected was a breast cancer diagnosis. Following the initial shock of the news, Dawn, from Chandler, Arizona, sought out doctors at Mayo Clinic and was guided through her treatment and recovery by Donald [...]

  4. Battling Colon Cancer at an Unexpected Age

    The majority of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50. Kelly Barnard was just 19 years old when she got an unwelcome Valentine’s Day surprise. Her stomach pain turned out to be something much more serious. Among cancer's many negative qualities is the seemingly indiscriminate way the disease manifests itself. Cancer doesn’t care what [...]

  5. This Selfie Brought to You by Colon Cancer Screening

    Twelve years after her diagnosis, Jane Jacobs knows the value of finding and treating colon cancer early and is participating in Fight Colorectal Cancer's #StrongArmSelfie campaign. Jane Jacobs understands the squeamishness some people have as they consider going through tests to check for colon cancer. "No one wants to think about or talk about their [...]

  6. Breaking Away From Pain With the Help of 'The Scrambler'

    Participating in a clinical trial gave Karen Safranek a solution to her decade-long struggle with peripheral neuropathy  Karen Safranek didn't take a worry-free step for 10 years. Severe peripheral neuropathy — a side effect of breast cancer treatment she received in 2002 — left her with constant burning, tingling, numbness and pain in both her [...]

  7. Faith and Mayo Clinic Help Cancer Survivor Overcome Multiple Health Battles

    When 53-year-old Donald Jones of Ponte Vedra, Florida, found out he had lung cancer, the former smoker accepted it as a challenge that he was prepared to fight and win. Little did he know the other serious health issues that lay ahead, which would create serious new challenges for him over the next year. An [...]

  8. Josh Russell Faces His Toughest Battle

    Josh Russell spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. But he says his toughest battle took place years after he left the military. In early 2011, Josh noticed a bump in his stomach around his navel. He thought the bump was a hernia, and his doctor initially agreed. Josh was scheduled for surgery, but [...]

  9. Mayo Clinic Clinical Trial Helps Physician Take On Multiple Myeloma

    When 69-year-old allergist and rheumatologist Mike Mass. M.D., was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August 2013, he quickly realized that being the patient and trusting the advice of a fellow physician with expertise in a disease outside of his realm of expertise would be a challenge. “I’ve always advocated open communications with my patients about their [...]

  10. A Golden Dream

    After being diagnosed with cancer, Joan Hittner, along with her husband, David, created an organization to raise money to find a cure. Today, David and daughter Christine continue the work. In 2011, Joan and David Hittner opened a letter from the Mayo Clinic Department of Development. Inside was a request: Would they consider donating $25 [...]

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