My Name is Priss Steelman and I am a Sun City Cancer Survivor team member for the 2016 Relay for Life. I have participated in Relay for Life for two years, and look forward to the event wherever I am. Last summer I participated in Relay for Life in Crescent City, CA. Supporting the American Cancer Society and research into this disease is important to me.
On May 29, 2013, my annual Mammogram at Mesa View Radiology found a tiny tumor that my doctors and I had trouble feeling. Within a week I had a biopsy done at Huntsman Cancer Center in St. George that proved that “The tumor was the rumor – but the tissue WAS the issue” to quote my primary care physician, Dr. Enrique Alfaro of Mesa View Medical Group. I was operated in St. George by Richard Wintch, on June 18, and a partial mastectomy removed the cancerous breast tumor. Margins were clear, lymph nodes were clear, we were good to go!
Dr. Wintch offered me the chance to have my tumor tissues submitted for genomic testing to predict the probability of recurrence. We were so sure that with no family history, no previous history, and the good clear margins, that the probability factor would be “no.” But the surprising results were “yes” so it warranted further treatment other than Arimidex/Aromatase Estrogen Blocking anti-cancer drug that we had planned. I found myself in 4 cycles of Chemotherapy under the watchful eye of Oncologist Joseph Te, MD in St. George. These began on July 18, and I finished chemo on Halloween, 2013. From Nov. 18 to Jan. 10, I had radiation therapy under the care of the Radiologists at Gamma West in St. George. I continue today and for another couple of years on estrogen-blocking anti-cancer drugs.
Through all the treatments, through all the chemicals, through all the reactions to the impact of each one of them, I was fascinated with how my body would respond, what my blood chemistries would do, how I would feel and how my friends and families would do with this. My attitude was always positive and curious. The support of my husband of 57 years, George, and the fact that I am a doctor’s daughter became a rock-solid foundation for my strength and courage. The positivism and experiences shared with me by breast cancer survivor Sydney Young, our Sun City General Manager at that time, became an unshakable foundation for me, and my springboard to helping others understand and deal with their cancers, no matter where they are in the progress of the disease or its treatment. The PBS documentary, “Cancer-the Emperor of all Maladies” traced the hard work of the American Cancer Society research and treatment through the decades from the earliest recorded cancer discoveries right up to Genomic Testing.
Genomic treatment and molecular intervention is going to provide the answers to cancer sought for centuries. Genomic indicators created the blueprint for my treatment, and saved my life. With the help of the research community and the time, dollars, and mission of researchers, we are closer to the cure for all cancers than we have ever been and amazing breakthroughs have saved, and are saving lives every day!