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Stage IV Cancer Patient Came to Memorial for Second Opinion, Received Second Chance

Joni's introduction to lung cancer came in the form of a mysterious headache that began one summer morning and lingered into autumn.

When the headache turned into double vision, the Weston resident was stunned to learn that her symptoms were caused by a brain tumor that had metastasized (spread) from her left lung.

As a nonsmoker, Joni had no way of knowing if her lung cancer was caused by exposure to secondhand smoke or by the toxins she encountered in her work as an environmental geologist. All she knew was that the tumor needed to be surgically removed.

After the brain tumor operation, Joni's oncologist delivered some devastating news: the tumor in her lung was considered inoperable because it was at Stage IV of development.

Joni, then only 51, was told she had six months to live.

New Hope for Lung Cancer Patients

On the advice of a social worker, Joni began attending meetings of Gilda's Club, a cancer support group. There, she learned that certain patients with Stage IV disease and limited metastatic sites, especially in the brain, may benefit from aggressive treatment that may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Heartened by the news, Joni received a second opinion about her prognosis at Memorial Healthcare System. She learned that surgery was a viable option for her and switched to Memorial for the remainder of her treatment.

With a minimally invasive operation and post-surgical chemotherapy, the cancer soon went into remission, allowing Joni the chance to reclaim her life.

"I'm living proof that Stage IV doesn't always have to be a death sentence."


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