WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (4/24/13) - As we prepare for the event, The Journal-Enterprise would like to take an opportunity to honor a few Webster County residents who have won their battle with cancer. Their stories are all different, but each one is an inspiration.
Webster County resident Jennifer Chancellor knows more about illness that most people. In eight and a half years as a registered nurse with St. Anthony’s Hospice in Dixon, she has seen the effects late stage cancer has on patients first hand.
“I saw this as a death sentence,” she said of her diagnosis. “Once I came to terms with it, I realized that the good Lord had done this to me to teach me something. Cancer isn’t a death sentence.”
Her battle with cancer began on April 4, 2011. She woke up in severe pain and was rushed to the emergency room.
While examining her doctors found that she had developed an eight centimeter tumor on her left kidney. When the tumor ruptured, it ruptured the kidney as well, requiring emergency surgery.
“I was diagnosed with stage three Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC),” Chancellor said. “It required a total radical left nephrectomy.”
That means that doctors had to remove her entire left kidney.
The medical staff was surprised by the diagnosis they made. RCC usually effects men over 50, but she was a woman under forty. It was also surprising because she showed no symptoms of the illness.
“Normally there would be signs of this condition,” Chancellor said. “Blood in the urine, pain in the side or weight loss. I had none of them. I was fatigued, but who isn’t?”
Unlike many forms of cancer, Chancellor did not undergo treatment following her surgery, because there is no treatment for RCC. It does not respond to either chemotherapy or radiation.
“I will never be considered cancer free,” she said. “I go back for Cat Scans every six months. After five years my cancer will be considered in remission, but it will never leave. There is a good chance it will come back, but when they know what they are looking for it will be easy to catch.”
Chancellor said that until a few years ago her type of cancer was rare, but it’s becoming more common.
According to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education, the incidence of RCC in the US has increased over time. Between 1992 and 2005, the incidence rose by 1.8% and 2.1% among white men and white women, respectively, and by 2.1% and 1.7% among black men and black women, respectively.
“If you don’t feel right, get checked out,” Chancellor wanted to tell people who think they might have a problem. “You know your own body best. Take good care of yourself and see your doctor. Ask for lab work if you think something is wrong.”
Chancellor, like many other Webster County survivors, have agreed to tell their story to The Journal-Enterprise, and through us, to you the reader. Some people ask why they would want to share such personal information with everyone. To Jennifer Chancellor the reason is clear.
“Our stories might help to save someone else’s life.”
J-E News Editor
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