When Brenda Cameron, now 72, began having stomach problems in 2009, she thought antacids were all that was needed to solve the problem.
However, when that didn’t work, her primary care physician sent her for an endoscopy.
"I was just uneasy all of the time, and they wanted to follow through and try to find out why,” she says. "I’m glad they did because they found a tumor, but they found it early enough that something could still be done.
"It was overwhelming to me and my entire family because it went from just having stomach problems to being diagnosed with cancer.”
Cameron, who is a breast cancer survivor, went to see her existing oncologist but decided to schedule an appointment with physicians within the Esophageal Disease Center at the UC Cancer Institute.
"I know that UC has a great reputation, and I found Dr. (Sandra) Starnes’ name and scheduled an appointment,” she says.
Cameron’s surgical team, which involved Starnes, MD, and Syed Ahmad, MD, who are both UC Health surgeons and faculty members within the UC College of Medicine, was able to non-invasively remove Cameron’s tumor through her neck, stomach and back.
"It took 10 hours, but I am now cancer free,” she says.
Cameron adds that while there is quite a lifestyle change involved with a diagnosis and a procedure of this magnitude, she wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s active in her church and is involved in volunteer efforts through the United Methodist Women.
"It was a miracle that my physicians found the cancer and were able to treat it,” she says. "The surgery went so well that I was done with a feeding tube and was eating regular food four months afterward. Not only am I thankful to the team of doctors who worked together to save my life, as well as the wonderful nurses and staff who cared for me during my time in the ICU, but also I am so thankful for my wonderful husband, my family, friends and my church family for helping me get through everything.
"The outcome is wonderful.”