“Look around, slow down”: Rapid City woman who beat lung cancer shares message of hope


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — One woman wants to share her message of hope after battling stage four lung cancer.

What started off as a preventative care visit at Monument Health two years ago, turned into a biopsy and CT scan.

“It came back stage four lung cancer, had metastasized to my brain, back of my knee, my liver, under my arm, everywhere,” Carol Engel said.

Doctors said she had just 6 months to live.

“It’s shocking and you feel so alone, and you don’t know where to turn,” Engel said.

Until, Monument Health came into the picture. Here at the Cancer Care facilities, they offer treatments like immunotherapy and infusion services.

Engel started with immunotherapy, than switched to chemotherapy when her progress slowed.

“I could only do two rounds of the chemo because it made me so sick,” Engel said.

So doctors switched Engel back to immunotherapy.

“And as of December I’m in remission, all the tumors are gone,” Engel said.

Dawn Utzman, a family nurse practitioner, was the one who recommended that Carol get screened for lung cancer because of her history of smoking… Utzman says Carol’s success shows just how far treatments have come.

“If this would’ve happened even 5 years ago, it would be an unfortunate discussion of get your affairs in order, we will do everything we can to make you comfortable. But now, we have some new drugs that tell your immune system to see the cancer and fight it,” Utzman said.

Engel has a message for anyone battling cancer.

“Take a deep breath, look around, slow down and think positive, it works,” Engel said.

Carol Engel lives a busy life and works summers at Bear Country. Engel has 2 grandchildren and continues to take care of her 90-year old mother.

Saturday on CBS, along with the other major television networks, will be airing the annual Stand Up to Cancer telethon. That begins at 7 p.m. central time.

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