Fighting cancer as a team


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Many of us have been impacted by cancer and know the diagnosis isn’t an easy one to navigate. 

But a local hospital is making a big difference for those dealing with the disease.

The words alone can be crippling. 
Finding out you have cancer is news no one is ready to hear. 

“When they told me I had cancer it kind of just hit. It was like okay, this is real, it’s my time,” April Steen said. 

In November of 2018 April Steen was diagnosed with stage 1 and 2 breast cancer, grade 3 which she says is the most aggressive form. 

Due to a family history of breast cancer Steen has been receiving routine mammograms since she was 29. 

“Always in the back of my mind, I’ve always thought maybe I would have it because my parent, my mom had it and my grandmother had it, so it was just when am I going to get it?” Steen said. 

Thanks to the care she’s receiving at Sanford she says the journey has been a little easier. 

“I’ve had so much support from my doctors and nurses and my community and just friends and it’s just been amazing. I mean staying positive has helped tremendously,” Steen said.

Sanford Health recently received the Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award, recognizing them for ensuring high quality cancer care. 

Dr. Thav Thambi says an integrated team approach and personalized care is a big part of it. 

“Cancer care, it’s become complex, you know it’s evolved a lot, that’s great, because the outcomes are better. So the more complex it gets, it becomes a team sport,” Thambi said. 

Sanford’s cancer care team meets weekly to present and discuss patient cases together, bringing together experts from all aspects of cancer care. 

“Group of physicians, you know the pathologists, radiologists, interventional radiologists, surgeons, oncologists, you know a bunch of us sit together and talk about that patient, what’s best for him or her,” Thambi said. 

But it’s not just about what’s going on medically, Thambi also says what’s happening on a personal level makes a big difference. 

“It’s just not the physicians or the nurses, it’s the person who welcomes you and the patient navigators you know, the individual you come across in the cafeteria to get a coffee. You know whenever you see a person with a smile it helps,” Thambi said. 

Heinemann: Can you imagine going through this experience without having that team around you?
Steen: No, not at all.

Steen is currently undergoing radiation treatment and says it’s going well. 

“There’s good prognosis that I will be cancer free, soon,” Steen said. 

Sanford Health is hosting a cancer survivor picnic on June 4. 

If you’d like to attend, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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