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Hearing From a Cancer Survivor

May 14, 2018
A cancer survivor gives back

Six years ago, Beth Nardone was diagnosed with an invasive, aggressive form of breast cancer. She underwent three surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Today, she shares her own experience and supports cancer patients and caregivers at GBMC as the co-chair of the Oncology Patient & Family Advisory Council. She talked with Mary Beth Marsden and Don Scott about her diagnosis and treatment and why she feels blessed to be able to give back through the council.

“When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you need to make your treatment the priority,” Beth explained. “Because my cancer was aggressive, I needed to start treatment quickly. I was lucky to have the team of doctors I did. They not only treated my cancer, they also have such heart and care so much about you. When I had complications from a medication I was taking to control the cancer, they didn’t give up. They found a way for me to get treatment for the heart-related side effects and continue taking the medication, which was an essential part of my treatment. Because of that commitment and care, I’m here today.”

In her role on the council, Beth works with other survivors to make the process of undergoing cancer treatment at GBMC better for those that come after them by advocating for changes big and small and sharing patient and family feedback with GBMC leadership. “Being part of the council is my way of taking something difficult and negative and turning it into something positive,” she said. “In addition to being a survivor, I was also the caregiver for both of my parents, so I understand both sides of the experience. It’s a gift that I can give to help others.”

Asked what she wishes the friends and family of cancer survivors knew, Beth explained, “Don’t walk on eggshells. We may want to talk about our fears and a lot of difficult topics that no one really wants to talk about. But it’s helpful when friends and family are open to those conversations.”

Watch the entire series:

Part 1 — Dr. Robert Donegan, MD, Medical Oncology

Part 2 — Brandon Costantino, Oncology Support Services at GBMC

Part 3 — Barbara Pisano Messing, The Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head & Neck Center, Johns Hopkins Head & Neck Surgery located at GBMC, and the Voice Center located at GBMC

Part 4 — Beth Nardone, Co-Chair of the Oncology Patient & Family Advisory Council and Cancer Survivor
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