Woman’s surprise cancer diagnosis is an example of a growing trend – NBC Chicago

Woman’s surprise cancer diagnosis is an example of a growing trend – NBC Chicago

More young and middle-aged women are being diagnosed with lung cancer, now at a higher rate than cases among men, and Palatine resident Mandy Warford is one of them.

“It started out just like a cough or any sinus infection or cold,” Warford said.

When Warford’s cough persisted for a year, she went to see her primary care doctor last November and was diagnosed with acid reflux. When the medication didn’t work, Warford went for a chest X-ray.

“That’s when the fluid started to kick in. That’s when they switched from acid reflux medications to antibiotics for the pneumonia,” Warford said.

Those didn’t clear up her cough either. Eventually, a positron emission tomography scan found the source: lung cancer.

“The initial stage was lung cancer, and they call it stage IV, because it has spread,” Warford said.

“The cancer has spread to the liver, another lung, some lymph nodes as well as the bones,” said Dr. Dennis Chan, a Warford radiation oncologist at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

Further testing through an MRI found that the cancer had also spread to her brain.

“An MRI showed five spots growing in the brain. That was a shock,” Warford said.

Warford, who was 41 at the time and a non-smoker, was stunned, but Chan said new research showed Warford was not alone.

“There is a higher proportion of young women in the 35 to 55 age group who are increasingly being diagnosed compared to their male counterparts,” Chan said.

Dr. Chan recommended targeted therapy, which involves taking Warford eight pills a day.

“This treatment absolutely works. I’ve had a great response,” Chan said.

After six months of treatment, the new PET scan showed amazing results.

“The cancer that has spread to the liver and to other parts of the lung and bones is no longer active. “The liver looks normal,” Chan said.

While targeted therapy worked in most tumors, one brain tumor required another approach called CyberKnife.

“It’s a type of radiation. It’s very different from conventional radiation because,

“For Mandy, we were able to give them just one treatment in 20 minutes,” Chan said.

“We’ll find out if it works around mid-December,” Warford said.

A frequent traveler, Warford tries to remain optimistic that she has many more trips in her future.

“Stage 4 doesn’t go away. I was hoping for this. There’s no evidence of disease. I’m hoping to keep that going for years,” Warford said.

(tags for translation) Health and wellness

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