Topics in This Section
- Ampullary Cancer
- Anorectal Cancer
- Anal Canal Carcinoma
- Carcinoid Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Gallbladder Cancer
- Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST)
- Liver Cancer (Bile Duct Cancer)
- Neuroendocrine Carcinoma
- Neuroendocrine Cancer of the Spleen
- Sister Mary Joseph's Lymph Node
- Small Bowel Cancer
- Stomach (Gastric) Cancer
In 2008, Patricia Jones began the long road of having multiple hip replacement surgeries. Two years later, at the age of 72, Patricia had an X-ray that revealed two suspicious lymph nodes her stomach. Her doctor ordered additional tests. "I wasn’t having any symptoms, my problem was all in my hip and leg,” recalled Patricia, who had recently lost a cousin to liver cancer. She was the first person in Patricia's family to be diagnosed with the disease.
"I knew I wanted to get checked out at Fox Chase."
“I knew I wanted to get checked out at Fox Chase,” said the Manahawkin, New Jersey resident. Patricia made an appointment at Fox Chase Cancer Center with Yun Shin Chun, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist who specializes in treating patients with cancer of the liver, pancreas and biliary. Her first experience with Dr. Chun started with a battery of morning tests, and ended with an office consult that same day.
"Dr. Chun is the most caring, sympathetic, heart-warming person you could ever meet."
“She told me I had liver cancer and that I would need an operation,” recalled Patricia. “I said 'no way.' Dr. Chun kindly explained that we had to get that cancer out – she talked me down off the ledge in such a caring way. Dr. Chun is the most caring, sympathetic, heart-warming person you could ever meet.”
Dr. Chun performed the delicate procedure to removed the section of Patricia's liver in January 2011. "The hospital and every single member of the team was just fantastic," shared Patricia. Following the procedure, Dr. Chun explained that her margins were good - meaning the tumor was successfully removed from the liver and it appeared that Patricia would not require further treatment.
Unfortunately, liver cancer is an insidious disease and within six months, the cancer had recurred. Dr. Chun met with the team and suggested that she have the tumor ablated, a process with uses targeted radio frequency currents used to kill cancer cells that are not accessible by surgery. Testing showed two spots remained on Patricia's liver, which were inaccessible to surgery or ablation. Patricia chose to meet with a medical oncologist close to her home in New Jersey. The doctor recommended a clinical trial that was evaluating the effectiveness of a new chemotherapy drug.
"My oncologist told me the treatment had a 50/50 chance of success, so I was willing to try anything," shared Patricia, who had also learned that her cancer had actually started in the bile duct and was now Stage IV. "Dr. Chun worked with my local oncologist so I didn’t have to travel to get my chemotherapy,” she said. “I really appreciated that.”
“I thought a 50/50 chance was pretty good odds,” said Patricia. Over the next six months, Patricia underwent a combination of ablation therapy and chemotherapy. It was considered successful for the most part and once the treatment was completed, Patricia learned there were just two small spots still remaining. Her doctors will keep a close eye on those spots.
"I knew I was in good hands with the Lord, Dr. Chun and the team."
Patricia credits her abiding faith, her family, friends and prayers from her church to seeing her through her cancer journey. “I knew I was in good hands with the Lord, Dr. Chun and the team. They all got me through. My outlook was, and still is, that I’m going to be here for a long time. I don’t feel sick, I don’t look sick. I’m going to live my life like nothing has changed, with the help of God.”