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Kuklis, for one, will not miss the regular CT scan screenings that her doctors have laid out on a time line to detect any recurrence of disease. The only thing separating her from a "normal" life is one 30-minute infusion each month of the biological agent Avastin, which her doctors recommend she keeps taking. What got her through? Family and friends. Exercise. Good health insurance. Meanwhile, her "cancer home" at White Plains Hospital's Dickstein Cancer Center is growing, with a new building to be unveiled in October and integrative therapies hardwired into the program with acupuncture, Reiki, aromatherapy, and more. Some of these are woven into Kuklis's lifestyle now—"I do yoga, walk, and meditate each day," she says.
For Pam Brown, "It was a little embarrassing to be a vegan and get cancer," she says with a self-deprecating smile. "I no longer feel invincible." But Brown will be 70 in June and is living proof that, as she says, "There's always hope. No matter what they tell you."
This is the first of two articles about cancer. The next article, about advances in lung cancer treatment, will appear in the April issue.
Clifford Connery, MD, FAC (845) 483-6920