Best of MD Anderson 2019: Why patients came here for treatment

Cancer patients come to MD Anderson for many reasons. Some want the expertise of the nation’s top hospital for cancer care for cancer care. Many want access to our cutting-edge treatments and our clinical trials. And some seek care here after hearing from friends or relatives about the compassionate care they received.

Here are 11 reasons our patients and caregivers shared with us in 2019 about why they chose MD Anderson. 

Skull base tumor survivor: “They gave me hope when all seemed hopeless.”

Initially, Mark Bailey chalked up the double vision he’d been experiencing to the stress of being a homicide detective. But it turned out to be caused by a skull base tumor called chordoma of the clivus. None of his local doctors knew how to treat it, so he came to MD Anderson.

Thymoma survivor: “I needed a higher level of expertise.”

Cynthia Sanchez had known something was wrong for years, but no one in Laredo ever connected any of the symptoms she had with the tumor growing on her thymus gland. When a routine X-ray revealed it behind her breastbone, she called MD Anderson.

Breast cancer survivor: “My doctors developed a plan that fit me perfectly.”

After Lisa Tecklenburg was diagnosed with breast cancer, she worried she might not compete in endurance sports ever again. But after receiving personalized treatment at MD Anderson, the triathlete finished a competition with her best time yet — and qualified for the IRONMAN world championship.

Throat cancer survivor: “It was like being cared for by my own family.”

News photographer Damion Smith had covered stories about MD Anderson for years, so he already knew it provided world-class cancer care. But until he became a patient himself after a throat cancer diagnosis, he didn’t appreciate how much “caring” went into it.

Leukemia survivor: “I always feel like the only patient they have.”

Six years after Lillian Dooies’ successful acute myeloid leukemia treatment at MD Anderson, follow-up visits feel like family reunions. She credits that to the strong relationships she developed with her care team during a stem cell transplant.

Brain tumor survivor: “We only have one chance to make the best decision.”

When the local hospital where Kellilyn Monar sought a second opinion for a brain tumor rejected the treatment recommendation of its own neurosurgeon, her parents began researching other options. They were convinced a type of surgery called an awake craniotomy would give her the best results — and they found it at MD Anderson.

Ovarian cancer survivor: “Patients really do come first at MD Anderson.”

As an MD Anderson employee, Angela Hernandez had heard for years about the personalized treatment our patients receive. It wasn’t until her own stage III ovarian cancer diagnosis that she came to appreciate how true that really was.

Colorectal cancer survivor: “I’ve never once felt like a number.”

When Raphael Moffett moved to Houston, one of the first things he did was call MD Anderson. The colorectal cancer survivor was in remission, but he wanted to his follow-up visits to be with the recognized leader in fighting this disease.

Kidney cancer survivor: “They never gave up on me.”

If Jodi Harris’ doctor had accepted the standard of care as his only option for treating her stage IV kidney cancer back in 2014, she might not still be here today. But her doctor’s determination led them to an immunotherapy drug and an extensive surgery that left her cancer-free, a status she still enjoys almost five years later.

Breast cancer survivor: “MD Anderson sees my kind of cancer every day.”

Alabama resident Maegan Watford was uncertain about seeking breast cancer treatment far from home. But the level of care she received at MD Anderson soon convinced her she had made the right decision.

Uterine cancer caregiver: “MD Anderson went that extra step.”

When Virgil Woods’ wife, Tralisa, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, he urged her to travel to MD Anderson before receiving additional treatment. Here, she learned she actually had uterine cancer — and this corrected diagnosis may have saved her life.

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