Cancer Clinics Natchez MS
Oncology (Cancer), Internal Medicine
Medical School: Ponce Sch Of Med, Ponce Pr 00732
Graduation Year: 1991
Hospital: Natchez Community Hospital, Natchez, Ms; Natchez Reg Med Ctr, Natchez, Ms
Group Practice: Natchez Oncology Clinic
Cancer Care & Diagnostic Ctr
Oncology (Cancer), Pediatrics
Medical School: Univ Of Ms Sch Of Med, Jackson Ms 39216
Graduation Year: 1985
Natchez Oncology Clinic
Hematology / Oncology
Living With Cancer
Cancer is more than just a bunch of cells that have run riot. Behind the test findings
By Claire Sykes
From diagnosis to treatment and beyond, cancer is a challenging road. Formerly a near-certain death sentence, the disease is often now more of a detour. The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2003 is 66%, up from 50% in the period between 1975 and 1977, according to the American Cancer Society. (The rate compares survival among cancer patients to that of people of the same age, race and sex not diagnosed with cancer.) The improvement in survival reflects progress in diagnosing certain types of cancer at an earlier stage and advances in treatment. Factors such as behavior are difficult to gauge in survival, though the selflessness and determination of the following three survivors, and the emotional support they received, appears to have played a role in their endurance. Here are their stories.
Cynthia’s Story: A Complicated Pregnancy
Two and a half years ago, a pregnant Cynthia Lufkin, 45, was examining her breasts. “I felt unusual changes, not like my first pregnancy,” the Washington, Connecticut, philanthropist recalls. Mammograms were not an option because a baby was due, and three doctor visits in five months uncovered nothing. Then, 32.5 weeks along in her pregnancy, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Lufkin had to give birth as quickly as possible via C-section so treatment wouldn’t harm the baby. One doctor urged chemotherapy, another a bilateral mastectomy. Lufkin chose the latter. Meanwhile, because she was born prematurely, little Aster Lee was suffering complications of her own and was put on oxygen, with a 50-50 chance of making it through the night. “For those 12 days before my surgery, it was unbearable, not knowing if my baby or I was going to die,” Lufkin says.
When Lufkin awoke from anesthesia, her newborn was breathing on her own. But two weeks after her surgery, Lufkin started chemotherapy followed by radiation. “There was no question about either,” she says.
To stay as healthy as possible, Lufkin watched her diet and kept herself moving. With her the whole way was Donna Wilson, RN, MSN, RRT, personal trainer, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who says, “Chemotherapy causes fatigue and weight gain, and radiation can cause more scar tissue, making full range of motion difficult. Cynthia’s exercises were stretches and arm movements coordinated with her breathing, to decrease stress and return mobility, relieve soreness and stiffness, and improve posture and circulation.”
Before chemo could take her hair, Lufkin had it removed. “That was tough,” she says. “To ev...