Margaret Evans

Neuroendocrine Cancer of the Spleen Patient Stories

Neuroendocrine Cancer of the Spleen
Margaret Evans

Knowing that family history plays a strong role in a person's risk of developing cancer makes it no surprise to learn that Margaret Evans would develop cancer in her lifetime. Margaret lost a sister and nephew to colon cancer; her father to liver cancer; and her niece to pancreatic cancer.

Margaret's daughter had breast cancer and passed away 2 days before her 40th birthday, leaving 2 small children without a mother. One of Margaret's sisters had melanoma, but was treated at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and is doing well today. Sadly, she lost another daughter to multiple sclerosis at the age of 42. Margaret has had her share of heartbreak.

In January 2003, Margaret thought she was having a heart attack and was caught off guard when she learned it was cancer. Her husband of more than 50 years at the time took Margaret to the emergency room where she presented with pain in her side and chest. Doctors found a mass on her spleen and a cyst on her ovary. Although the cyst turned out to be benign, she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer of the spleen.

"Enough is enough. I wasn't waiting any longer."

"My doctors thought I should wait to see if it grows," said Margaret, who reluctantly followed their instructions. After 6 months, she was re-evaluated and given the same advice. "I wanted the tumor removed."

"Dr. Watson is excellent and has provided me with the best care."

Margaret decided to get a second opinion from the specialists at Fox Chase Cancer Center. She met with James Watson, MD, an oncologic surgeon who specializes in complex tumors of the gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Waston performed a spleenectomy, removing the malignant organ. Margaret felt that Dr. Watson was extremely thorough and "left no stone would be left unturned."

"I am considered surgically-cured."

"Dr. Watson calls me his "#1 spleenectomy," added Margaret. She is pleased she chose Fox Chase. "Everyone at Fox Chase is really wonderful."

She continues to be followed with periodic octrea and CT scans. Anything that is suspicious-looking is always tested, however no further tumors have been detected.

"At Fox Chase, you get the best care."

Margaret admits she is after everyone she knows to get regular cancer screenings and advises everyone to go to Fox Chase. "Cancer is all they do," she said. "At Fox Chase, you get the best care. With my experience, I know it is always better to be safe than sorry."