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Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Cancer Archive

November 13th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Recovery Turns Into Cancer Battle for Avid Runner

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Judi, center, with Dr. Horacio Asbun, Mayo Clinic surgeon (center), and her grandson Jude, at the 2014 Pancreatic Cancer Walk.

Judi Zitiello with her grandson, Jude, and Dr. Horacio Asbun, Mayo Clinic surgeon , at the 2014 Pancreatic Cancer Walk.

An avid runner, Judi Zitiello, 66, was forced into a six-week hiatus when she developed a meniscus tear in early 2014. The retired financial executive was always active – exercising, hosting dinner parties, and volunteering to run the JT Townsend Foundation, a Jacksonville, Florida, philanthropic organization.

Judi wasn’t too concerned about the downtime at first. She knew her body would take time to heal. But the pain lingered. Then Judi began losing weight and her energy waned.

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Tags: Dr. Horacio Asbun, Dr Kristina DeMatas, Florida Campus, Pancreas, pancreatic cancer, purple strides, Whipple

November 5th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Gut Feeling, Being in Right Place May Have Saved Lynn Witherspoon

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Lynn Witherspoon and her husband moved to Jacksonville to be close to Mayo.When Lynn Witherspoon was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to move quickly. And she wanted to move to a place she felt would give her the care she needed. So she and her husband moved from their home in North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida, to be near Mayo Clinic's Florida campus.

"We live in a rural area, and I felt more comfortable going to Mayo for my cancer care," she says. She'd had relatives treated at Mayo. "So I knew what it offered and its reputation."

Lynn was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. She completed five months of chemotherapy, and had a lumpectomy and removal of some lymph nodes, followed by radiation therapy. Something told her she should take another step to protect her health.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Dr Matthew Robertson III, Dr Sanjay Bagaria, Dr Saranya Chumsri, Florida Campus, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Lumpectomy, Ovarian Cancer

October 27th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Be the Match: It Could Save a Life, Like Christina’s

By uthangaraj uthangaraj

Bone marrow transplant patient Christina Woodside

Christina Woodside starts off the YouTube video that chronicles her health journey by saying, “My family is like every other average family in America.” Her story, however is anything but average.

As part of an active family, Christina, along with her husband and their five children, enjoyed running, biking, fishing and snow sports.

In 2013, on the day after Thanksgiving, that active lifestyle was interrupted by what Christina initially thought was strep throat. She went to urgent care at a clinic in her hometown of Mankato, Minnesota. A strep test came back negative. But her white blood cell count was extremely high, and that pointed to a more serious problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Be the Match, bone marrow transplant, Dr Shahrukh Hashmi, Leukemia, Marrow Donor Registry

October 26th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Clinical Trial Testing Virus Therapy Gives New Hope to Melanoma Patient

By pscotti pscotti

FrankMosely805A diagnosis of stage IV melanoma can be a frightening prospect, with surgery and chemotherapy often an integral part of the treatment regimen. But Frank Moseley, a Jacksonville, Florida, native with an advanced melanoma diagnosis, was eager to do whatever it takes, even going beyond the norm, to give him the best chance of recovery.

So when Frank agreed to become the first participant in a clinical trial at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus and be injected with a form of the herpes virus to treat his melanoma, it was no surprise that he was confident it would work.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: clinical trial, Melanoma

October 22nd, 2015 · 1 Comment

Rallying Around ‘Jack’ – Buying Time for 11-Year-Old Who Touched the Hearts of His Care Team

By uthangaraj uthangaraj

Jack and his family with Jack's care teamHe melts hearts with his infectious smile, cheerful attitude and frequent magic tricks.

But the slogan on Haonan Jiang's T-shirt, which reads "Tough as Nails," is a more accurate summation of his spirit, and the fight he and his family have been waging.

The 11-year-old from Beijing, China, prefers to be called "Jack." He is suffering from what is known as an anaplastic astrocytoma, a grade 3 malignant tumor, according to his doctors at Mayo Clinic. The typical survival rate after diagnosis is one to three years.

Jack's parents, Ben and Lili Jiang, had promised him a trip to see America when he finished primary school. But instead of sightseeing, their focus is now on Jack and doing anything possible to stop, or at least slow, his deteriorating and deadly condition. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: anaplastic astrocytoma, Cancer, Dr Amulya NageswaraRao, Dr Nadia Laack, Dr Sherilyn Driscoll, Mayo Clinic Children's Center

September 4th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Critical Care Team Gives Young Mom Second Chance in Fight Against Cancer

By cindyweiss cindyweiss

Mayo Clinic cancer patient Hollis Younger enjoying timel with family. Three years had passed since Hollis Youngner, 34, had been diagnosed and treated for HER2+ breast cancer. So in late 2014, when the mother of one was "just feeling yucky, tired, nauseous," she says cancer wasn't even on her mind. "I was secretly excited, thinking of ways to tell everyone I was pregnant," she says.

Unfortunately, a chest X-ray, prompted by a complaint of being short of breath, set in motion a series of events that ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, a 45-minute CPR session, and questions about whether the young mom would even survive.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Florida Campus, Metastatic Cancer, Dr John Moss, Dr Diaz-Gomez, Dr Moreno, Hollis, pulmonary embolism

May 19th, 2015 · 4 Comments

Patient’s Cancer Journey Inspires Hope and a New Career Path

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Kristin Yukness at a power lifting event. Kristen Yukness knew what her doctor was going to say next. After a finding of bilateral deep vein thrombosis after a routine flight, Kristen had a strong feeling – based on her family history – that her condition had been caused by an underlying form of cancer.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Cancer, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Dr Kenneth DeVault, Dr Matthew Robertson III, Dr Todd Miller, Dr William Cliby, Endocervical Cancer, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

May 6th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

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

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore


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.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Dr Robert Foote, Dr Sameer Keole, Dr Steven Schild, Jacobson Building, Proton Therapy, Rhabdomyosarcoma, Rochester Campus, Soft Tissue Cancer

March 23rd, 2015 · Leave a Comment

From ‘Shock’ to Hope – Young Woman Shares Her Breast Cancer Journey

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Dawn DeCook-Gibson shares her story of breast cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic.. 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 Northfelt, M.D., her oncologist, and Barbara Pockaj, M.D., her surgeon.

“I was diagnosed with stage 2b lobular carcinoma breast cancer last year,” she says. “I was in shock … everything just seemed like it was perfect, and then the diagnosis came in. Honestly, it stopped me in my tracks.”

One of her family members had received care at Mayo’s Arizona campus and recommended that Dawn do the same. “She was adamant that I go to Mayo Clinic,” Dawn says.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Arizona campus, Breast Cancer, Dr Barbara Pockaj, Dr Donald Northfelt, mastectomy

March 10th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

This Selfie Brought to You by Colon Cancer Screening

By hoytfinnamore hoytfinnamore

Jane Jacobs, colon cancer survivor, poses for a strong arm selfie.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 colon," she says. "You don't see it. Its job is hardly glamorous. It tends to be part of the body people would rather forget about."

But after being diagnosed and successfully treated for early-stage colon cancer at age 40, Jane, who works in Media Support Services at Mayo Clinic, strongly encourages others to get past their hesitancy and get a colonoscopy.

"The bottom line is that the colon cancer screening process is not as bad as people make it out to be," she says. "It's a fairly straightforward test that can make the difference between an early diagnosis, when the disease can often be more easily treated, and a severe, sometimes life-threatening, illness."  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: Colon Cancer, Colonoscopy, Colorectal surgery, StrongArmSelfie