“I am not going to let cancer win.” That was Kathe Maxwell’s commitment to herself when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As she faced the fight of her life, Kathe gained a distinct advantage by enlisting world-class expertise at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) at Long Beach Memorial.
Within the new 64,000-square-foot outpatient Todd Cancer Pavilion that opened in July, thousands of women like Kathe rely on a full complement of evidence-based, breakthrough therapies to comfort and cure in a serene, spa-like setting. All appointments can occur at one place, at one time. A complete array of wellness therapies, including acupuncture, healthy-cooking classes and yoga, aid body, mind and spirit, conveniently assembled under one roof.
Surviving Ovarian Cancer
56-year-old Kathe, a sales executive, was experiencing severe abdominal pain. Concerned, she immediately consulted with her primary care physician who referred her to the gynecologic oncology experts at Long Beach Memorial.
A CT scan revealed the presence of a large tumor. Surgery was her best chance for a cure.
“When the pain initially started, I knew something was wrong. Cancer is always everyone’s biggest fear. In my case, it was my reality,” says Kathe.
According to the National Cancer Institute, ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Only 44 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive the next five years, primarily because it is often discovered in a late stage. All women are at risk.
“Thorough diagnostics allowed us to catch Kathe’s ovarian cancer at an early, curable stage,” says gynecologic oncologist Michael Berman, MD “Within two weeks of diagnosis, we successfully intervened and removed the malignant mass. The fact that Kathe is cancer-free now is a testament that early detection translates into a higher cure rate.”
Long Beach Memorial’s gynecologic oncology expertise draws four times as many patients as the average California hospital. From advanced, leading-edge medical technology to an open space design featuring nature-inspired art, the Todd Cancer Pavilion fosters physical and emotional healing for more than 2,000 cancer patients who seek treatment there each year.
The three-story state-of-the-art Pavilion brings together the spectrum of cancer specialties and services such as thoracic, gastrointestinal, genitourinary radiation, genetic counseling and minimally invasive robot-assisted procedures to one site.
“The entire second floor is devoted to women’s care for breast and gynecologic cancers. We all come together – specialists, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, and psychosocial and genetic experts. The list goes on and on. Our philosophy is that it takes many minds and a multi-disciplinary approach to conquer cancer and we’ve built the Todd Cancer Pavilion to do just that,” says Dr. Berman.
A Winning Combination
To keep family and friends informed of her progress, Kathe began blogging.
“It was therapeutic. I set it up like a boxing match: Kathe versus big, bad cancer. And I won, just like I promised,” says Kathe.
Touched and humbled by her own experience at Long Beach Memorial, Kathe now supports other newly diagnosed women with cancer through the Women Guiding Women: Cancer Support and Education mentor program.
“Fighting cancer creates an unspoken bond among women. Being able to openly share my feelings with other survivors gave me a sense of empowerment. I want to help create that for others,” says Kathe.