Although Judee Bushko had not experienced dramatic symptoms prior to being diagnosed with stage 3-C endometrial cancer, she had a feeling that something wasn't right. "I started to experience some spotting," said Judee, who turned 63 in 2011. Despite her normal exam with a Pap smear in January 2007, she went back to her doctor in November, who sent her for a vaginal ultrasound. After the exam, her doctor ordered further testing.
A biopsy of the lining of her uterus came back positive for endometrial cancer. Although Judee and her husband, David, live close to Scranton, Pennsylvania (about two hours north of Philadelphia), her son and daughter-in-law urged her to seek treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "I didn't waste a minute," she said. In late December, Judee had her first appointment with Cynthia Bergman, MD, FACOG, attending surgeon Gynecologic Oncology department at Fox Chase.
"Dr. Bergman gave me a sense of confidence that made such a difference."
"I went into the appointment feeling afraid," said the middle school teacher. "Cancer is such a frightening word. But Dr. Bergman managed to strike a tone that was both serious and optimistic. She spent so much time with us and answered our long list of questions patiently and thoroughly. Dr. Bergman gave me a sense of confidence that made such a difference."
"There's an upbeat spirit throughout Fox Chase – which is vitally important for a cancer patient."
Dr. Bergman recommended that Judee have a complete hysterectomy, which she performed in early January. Judee stayed in the hospital for 5 days. "I can't say enough good things about Fox Chase," she said. "The nurses are fabulous, so attentive to even the smallest detail. There's an upbeat spirit throughout Fox Chase – which is vitally important for a cancer patient."
Judee recuperated nicely, and she returned to work in 5 weeks. After discussing her follow up treatment options with Dr. Bergman, which ranged from watchful waiting (or active surveillance) to chemotherapy or vaginal radiation, she opted for a series of 3 radiation treatments, that turned out to be painless. "I asked Dr. Bergman what she would do. She sees this every day, so I really trusted her advice."
"Being treated at Fox Chase made all the difference to me."
In 2011, more than 3 years after her surgery, Judee's annual tests and blood work consistently show her to be cancer free. "Being treated at Fox Chase made all the difference to me. The hospital is very warm and friendly," shared Judee. "At Fox Chase, cancer is not a hopeless word."