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Suzanne Buck has lived with cancer since 1989 when she was diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer. But ask her how she’s doing, and the emphasis is always on the "living" part. "It's important for people to understand that you can live a full life, and still deal with cancer. I'm one of the lucky ones." Lucky, and compliant – Suzanne is always vigilant, never relaxing her regimen of six-month check ups, blood work and CAT scans.
Despite having a full hysterectomy in 1989, Suzanne’s ovarian cancer cells continued to migrate throughout her body, in 1993 to her colon, in 1996 to her liver. In each case she underwent surgery and six months of chemotherapy at her local hospital.
After a blessed 10-year break, Suzanne once again faced cancer in 2006, at the age of 54, again in the form of ovarian lesions, now on her lung. She had a lung resection in that July, and chemotherapy, but this time she experienced an allergic reaction to one of the treatment drugs.
After receiving treatment close to home, Suzanne traveled to Fox Chase for a second opinion.
On the recommendation of her oncologist, Suzanne, who lives in the Poconos about two hours north of Philadelphia, came to Fox Chase Cancer Center and consulted with a medical oncologist who specializes in advanced forms of ovarian cancer. He recommended that she continue the chemotherapy, but as an inpatient in the hospital over a longer period of time. The therapy worked and the lesions were gone.
In 2009, a CAT scan again revealed something suspicious on her lung. After close monitoring, a tiny growth was detected, and in 2010 she was referred to radiation oncologist Shelly Hayes, MD, director of Fox Chase Cancer Center Buckingham. Dr. Hayes and her team specialize in using CyberKnife, a state-of-the-art technology used to treat cancer in difficult to reach areas, such as the lung and brain. Dr. Hayes evaluated Suzanne and determined that she would be a good candidate for CyberKnife, a minimally invasive targeted radiation technique that delivers radiation with sub-millimeter accuracy to delicate areas of the body using image-guidance technology and computer-controlled robotics.
"Dr. Hayes and her staff are just amazing."
“I can’t say enough about how fabulous Dr. Hayes has been,” said Suzanne. “I had absolutely no side effects at all. Dr. Hayes and her staff are just amazing.” She completed four CyberKnife treatments by March 2011, and in the summer of 2011 her blood work was clear.
“I’m one for the record books,” she said. "If you look at the history of ovarian cancer, you'll see it is not a good one, but I’ve actually been very fortunate. I’m not one of those people who are treated and then are cancer-free in five years. But I believe in good energy, the power of doctors and nurses and chemo, and I really believe in CyberKnife.”
"Your oncologist is your ally for life."
"My story is proof-positive that cancer is indeed a chronic disease, and must be monitored once the patient is diagnosed for the rest of his or her life," said Suzanne. "Your oncologist is your ally for life. I am so blessed to have in my life the team at Fox Chase Cancer Center!"