By: Gina Pitisci Email
By: Gina Pitisci Email

Hearing the news that you or someone you know is diagnosed with cancer is never easy. However, one local hospital is making an effort to help those diagnosed live a longer and more fulfilling life despite their diagnosis.

Ellen Hench was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in September of 2005 and has had 5 years of chemo and 3 major surgeries. Hench states “they told me I had 2 to 3 years, and here it is 5 years later, and I'm still here.

For those that are fighting cancer there is a support system is right around the corner. Southeast Alabama Medical Center Oncology Nurse Manager Cindy Tanton states “it's wonderful to be able to offer state of the art treatments, here in Dothan that allow patients to maintain as much independence as possible to be as pain free as possible, to be as nearly normal as possible.”

According to cancer specialists at Southeast Alabama Medical Center, the goal of a treatment plan can vary. Dr. Jarrod Adkison says “the treatment for people who have metastatic disease is not really delivered with the intent to cure but delivered with the intent to try to delay progression of their disease, to improve their quality of life and reverse symptoms that they might be having.”

Continuing to live a normal life is the goal of many patients diagnosed and there are resources available to help make that happen. Tanton states “we have a breast navigator who promotes and helps patients go through their breast cancer journey, not just at the beginning but throughout that journey, we have support groups that are established for different disease processes, we have social workers, dieticians and physical therapy.”

Hearing that you have cancer does not have to be the end of life as you know it. Hench stresses to “find something that makes you want to live that makes you want to go on and don't get down in the dumps.” She appreciates everyday thanks to her faith and encouragement from her Granddaughter and daughter.

Early diagnosis is key with any form of cancer. For more information, log onto our web channel, www.wtvy.com and click on Buddy Check-4 to learn more about cancer screening opportunities and to sign up for free monthly reminders for you and your buddy to do your self breast examination


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