Teresa Palumbo

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Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer with Metastasis Patient Stories

Breast Cancer with Metastasis to the Brain
Teresa Palumbo

Imagine being told you have an inoperable brain tumor with about 3 months to live. What would you do? In 2007, Teresa Palumbo had to face that dilemma. Luckily for Teresa, her husband knew what to do. Nicholas figured that if anyone could treat his wife, it would be the doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center. He happened to be right.

If anyone could treat Teresa, it would be the doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

The year before, Teresa was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at a local community hospital. Her surgeon performed a lumpectomy on her left breast and removed 11 lymph nodes. After surgery, Teresa underwent courses of both chemotherapy and radiation to reduce the chance of recurrence.

Teresa, part of the "sandwich generation," rises at 5:00 every morning to get to work as a kindergarten teacher, watches her grandchildren after school and cares for her mother, who lives with the Palumbos. "It's never dull at our house," said Teresa, who occasionally reads to relax.

"The doctors [at my community hospital] told me I had 3 months to live."

One year later, Teresa went to another community hospital where she was diagnosed with a metastasis of her breast cancer to the brain. "The doctors told me I had 3 months to live. They said there was nothing they could do," Teresa recalled.

Nicholas arranged for his wife to see the radiation oncology team at Fox Chase, who were able to treat Teresa's tumors using sophisticated technology called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). This non-invasive procedure involves the precise delivery of a single, high dose of radiation.

"Fox Chase was the answer to our prayers."

"Fox Chase was the answer to our prayers," said Teresa, who noted that everyone she met at Fox Chase was compassionate and professional.

Teresa responded very well to the treatment and finished by the fall of 2007. After a short recovery, Teresa resumed her full time teaching position at Our Lady of Grace in Penndel.

"I get so much pleasure from my students and I really missed them while I was out," shared Teresa, who believes that her recovery was aided by the overwhelming support provided by her school faculty and through the "angelic power of children's prayer." Teresa also values "being able to help my daughter by babysitting her children. I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Teresa attends Mass at her church every day. "I feel that I escaped disaster and experienced a miracle by dodging this bullet," Teresa mentioned. "Faith is very important with healing." Teresa and her husband also visit regularly and pray at The Shrine of Saint Katherine Drexel.

"The doctors at Fox Chase gave us back Teresa's life."

Since her treatment, Teresa and Nicholas have received several calls from people diagnosed with brain tumors. "They are desperate for help, just like we were. We recommend Fox Chase to everyone who asks," Nicholas said. "The doctors at Fox Chase gave us back Teresa's life."