Neal Blair will be 80 in a few weeks. He recently retired from his work as a political consultant. Perhaps that doesn’t seem so remarkable. But in May 2016, Neal was diagnosed with pancreas cancer. Two and a half years later, he is NED—his follow-up tests show no evidence of disease. And that is remarkable.
"patient stories" News
Dan Nelson was diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer in 2016. As his caregiver, Dan's wife, Dianne, has been at his side throughout. She shares her perspective, which reveals the power of what it means to be a cancer caregiver and the hope that this role can bring to a loved one who receives a life-changing cancer diagnosis.
Patient and Huntsman Hero Dan Nelson set out to ride the 30-mile segment of the Huntsman 140 in spite of a terminal brain cancer diagnosis. When Dan wasn't sure he could make it up the last hill, his #DanStrong team of family and friends was there to push him to the top. In the hardest of times, Dan and his wife Dianne have never been alone.
John Karg was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, early in 2016. His cancer care team at Huntsman Cancer Institute treated the cancer with surgery, radiation, oral chemotherapy, and participation in clinical trials. He’s doing very well with the treatment—his interview for this article happened while he was waiting for the lift lines at Alta ski resort.
When I was diagnosed with uterine sarcoma, behind all of the distress about treatment was an overwhelming feeling of disbelief that I was about to become infertile at age 28. But being able to retrieve and freeze my eggs before chemotherapy gave me back a little bit of the control I felt was lacking.
“Our perspective was to enjoy life no matter the circumstances. You find joy. Sometimes you have to search under the rug and in the closet, but there’s something to be happy about every day.”
The POWER Program (Personal Optimism with Exercise Recovery) gives a personalized exercise plan for cancer patients based on diagnosis, treatment type and phase, and fitness goals. For Farley Eskelson, it also gave him the chance to get back to the activities he loves.
Rebecca Ward went to the dentist for a routine check-up and ended up with a startling diagnosis: oral cancer. After that initial shock, Rebecca went through cancer treatment and became an advocate for oral cancer awareness.
For many of young people, a cancer diagnosis is their first real medical issue. This was the case for Marina Pimentel, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, at age 26. Marina worked with an AYA patient navigator to help her manage the complexities of cancer treatment and care.
Christina Ratcliff enrolled in HCI's Total Cancer Care study, a partnership among patients, health care providers, and researchers to help accelerate cancer research and improve patient care.
Tommy Tanzer, a resident of Park City, Utah, received three negative prostate biopsies over the course of three years, but he and his doctors still suspected he may have cancer. Tommy then had an MRI-guided biopsy at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), hoping there would be a more accurate result. Unfortunately, this biopsy did detect cancer. Fortunately, it was found early enough to treat.
"One thing is for sure: cancer will affect your life... and the only way we're going to find a cure is by supporting research."
In memoriam. Tom Kursar and his wife, Lissy Coley, are used to working with each other as co-leaders of a research group in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah. So when Tom was diagnosed with pancreas cancer, the couple faced the disease together.
Just three weeks after their wedding in 2007, newlyweds Dan and Melanie Hedlund were in for some startling news—Dan had osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
After Emma Houston learned she had breast cancer, the first thing she did was go shopping to buy red three-inch high heels. The shoes became as much a hallmark of her cancer journey as her humor and positive outlook.
This winter, two years will have gone by since my mom passed away from stomach cancer. Through the experience of losing her, I've learned that cancer can be a catalyst for activism. With the help of the entire community, we can raise awareness and fight alongside those suffering from this disease.
Support groups and special retreats are helpful for many people with cancer. Merica Hale found a healing place to relax and meet women diagnosed with breast cancer who could offer each other support.
After being diagnosed and treated for ovarian cancer, obstetrician Janice Byrne was determined to make a difference for others facing the same disease. Now, she advocates to increase education and awareness about ovarian cancer and provide support to newly diagnosed patients.
When I was a teenager, the HPV vaccine did not exist. I wish it had; I would have been grateful for its protection. And I have news for you, HPV. You messed with the wrong woman.
After what Ken and Julieann Selden call the worst trial they’ve ever faced, the young couple now live a more purposeful life. Ken's diagnosis with mesenchymal chondrosarcoma brought a lifetime’s worth of grief, fear, pain, hope, and joy.