Diane Fouts thought she had a bad cold. It was the spring of 2015, and she had a cough that just wouldn’t go away. She went to see her doctor, who ordered a CT scan. The results were far more serious than a cold. Diane had lung cancer. She is not a smoker; in fact, she has never smoked.
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Like any major illness, cancer affects more than the body. It wreaks havoc on the lives and emotions of patients and their families. Ask Judi Evans, who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and told she had just six months to live. “My daughter and I looked at each other, and we said ‘no, we're not accepting that.’ So we immediately came to Huntsman Cancer Institute.”
Sometimes a therapy not often associated with cancer care can make a huge difference in a patient’s recovery. Massage therapy at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) complements standard cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. One patient says it’s improving his quality of life dramatically.
People use phones for just about everything these days—reading emails, checking the weather, or catching up on news. Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) want to add extended patient care to that list. They’re testing a telehealth system called “Symptom Care at Home” to help keep patients as healthy as possible during cancer treatment. Kathi Mooney, PhD, co-leader of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at HCI, says the idea behind the program is that cancer patients’ symptoms don’t happen only while they are at the doctor’s office. Dr. Mooney has spent 15 years trying to improve patient care through a relatively simple technology—the telephone.
It's a familiar struggle to anyone dealing with cancer; the treatments that get rid of the disease can also have serious side effects. Doctors at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) are working to reduce the negative effects of cancer treatment by pinpointing radiation therapy within a millimeter of where the cancer resides. Karen Curtis has a family history of cancer. The disease took the lives of her mother and sister. When she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last February, she assumed she didn't have much time to live. "The first time I found out I didn't cry, I didn't have any emotions about it," she says. "But, then you start going through it and you start losing your hair, and you start losing everything, it's like you're losing your dignity."
Cindy Shepherd hasn't missed a yearly mammogram since her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer about 16 years ago. Shepherd didn't need a reminder to keep that appointment after watching her sister go through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. But she got one anyway five years ago when her mother, too, was diagnosed with breast cancer, the disease so advanced she had to have a double mastectomy. In Utah, breast cancer is the leading cause of female cancer death: In 2012, there were 115.5 cases of breast cancer and 20.5 breast cancer deaths per 100,000 women, according to the state Department of Health.
Lilli Hartvigsen remembers the moment her three-year-old son Ethan was diagnosed with cancer. “On November 7th, three weeks after he had an MRI, they told us it was lymphoma,” she says. It began as a limp and quickly became a parent’s worst nightmare. “They actually did a bone scan, and it was all over his bones,” Lilli explains, “Stage 4 cancer. It was terrible.”
From the Americas, through Africa to Australia, countries that have mandated the fortification of flour with folic acid have seen huge reductions in the number of children developing neural tube defects while in the womb. So what is Europe waiting for? Adrian Burton investigates.
Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and University of Utah Health Care (UUHC) know it's important for all community members to understand breast cancer, screenings and prevention. Today they share the top things you can do to help lower your rise of breast cancer.
Doctors at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) are discovering some treatments that work for one type of cancer may also work for another, if it has similar mutations, or genetic changes. Genetic changes, or mutations, change some normal cells in the body into cancer cells which can grow and multiply. There are more than 100 types of cancer, which means many different ways to treat cancer are needed. Most cancers are named for the part of the body where they started.
There's something about Utah's uncluttered landscape and expansive blue sky that gives Mary Beckerle a sense of mental space. It helps her think, she says, and fuels her desire to explore both mentally and physically. It's the reason the New Jersey native came to the Beehive State in the 1980s to teach at the University of Utah. Thirty years later, she's found herself in the Huntsman Cancer Institute's corner office as its CEO, with wall-to-wall windows overlooking the geography she loves so much.
Cancer isn’t the first hardship dealt to Carrie Grindle-Lyons. In 2008, she delivered a baby boy at 22 weeks. He was stillborn. Her doctor asked her not to try getting pregnant again right away because she had fibroids in her uterus. They were removed with surgery that left her uterus in place. A year after she lost her baby, Carrie went in for a checkup. What doctors found devastated her. “The fibroids grew back, and they found out I had endometrial cancer,” she says.
To say Annie Budhathoki, DAOM, L.Ac., was skeptical of acupuncture would be an understatement. “I thought acupuncture was the devil’s work,” she says. Then she was in a horrific accident. After more than two years of surgeries and recovery, she still had to walk with a cane. She turned to acupuncture as a last resort to relieve the pain in her leg, and quickly became a believer. After three sessions she was able to walk, cane-free.
Lisa Callister walked into LDS Hospital in 2012 for a routine colonoscopy. She walked out knowing a tumor had been growing unchecked in her colon for about six years. She battled for more than a year as colon cancer ravaged her body. Doctors had to remove the entire organ. But the ordeal might have been avoided, Callister said, if she had previously known that she had Lynch Syndrome, an inherited disorder that increases the risk of many cancers. The gene runs in her family, but Callister, her sister, Emily Scalley, and their siblings had not been tested.
Thousands of lives could be saved by a simple vaccination to protect against Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Yet only 51% of teens receive the vaccine each year. Every year more than four thousand people die from cancers related to HPV. It's upsetting, it's really upsetting,” says Deanna Kepka, PhD, MPH, a population scientist at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). “If you ask any cancer survivor whether they would have taken an opportunity to get a vaccine that prevented their cancer, they would say yes.”
To look at 52-year-old Mark Wilson, actively keeping up with the high school baseball players he coaches, you'd never know that cancer is tearing his body apart. “It's a sarcoma,” Wilson said. “I was diagnosed with it in October of 1999." He has survived thanks to a strong disposition as well as the strong work of his doctors and nurses.
Researchers recently revealed in a Nature Genetics paper that they had identified a new gene linked to ALS, a neurodegenerative condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The July announcement was a milestone in the fight against ALS, which affects about 30,000 Americans, and a historic moment in financing disease research.
Getting cancer treatment, like radiation, can be scary -- especially for children. One Utah woman is helping kids feel a little more brave by giving them special gifts before treatment. Jill Perkins makes princess crowns and superhero capes for the children who go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for radiation.
More than 1,000 young women have helped Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) researchers with a study to pinpoint factors that affect the risk of breast cancer.
As a child, Eleana used to think her family was cursed. Her father, grandparents, and several aunts, uncles and cousins all had cancer and passed away at a young age. One cousin died of lung cancer when he was just 12 years old. “I was afraid to let anyone get attached to me and I was afraid to get attached to anyone,” she says. “I thought if I love somebody they're going to die, if somebody loves me, they're going to die.” When her daughter, Kiera, complained of a sharp pain in her side that wouldn’t go away, Eleana took her to Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). Kiera was diagnosed with pleomorphic sarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer, at the age of 19. After several months of treatment and surgery on her abdomen, Kiera was pronounced cancer-free. Kiera’s experience with cancer gave her a new life mission. She became a cancer researcher at HCI.
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