Cancer is a word that strikes fear in most people and revives painful memories of loved ones who have battled the dreaded disease.  According to the CDC, cancer has claimed over half a million lives each year for the past several years.  However, with advancements in treatments and technology, the number of cancer deaths are on a steady decline.  Pikeville Medical Center’s (PMC) Leonard Lawson Cancer Center (LLCC) takes the fight against cancer very seriously and strives to provide the highest level of cancer care for all patients.

In December, 2019, Cheryl Preece began her battle at the PMC Leonard Lawson Cancer Center after being diagnosed with breast cancer.  She says her life was changed forever after a routine mammogram appointment.

“It all began when the mammogram was ‘inconclusive’,” said Preece. “Dr. Wells, the radiologist, ordered an MRI to get a better idea of what was going on with me.  That was followed by a biopsy and then the words, ‘you have cancer.’”

Within days of her diagnosis, Cheryl had a mastectomy. The surgery also revealed, fortunately, that the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes.

At the LLCC, before a patient begins treatment, a distinguished group of physicians specializing in different areas of medicine comes together with one goal in mind: to determine the most effective treatment plan for the patient.  In Cheryl’s case, the PMC team optimized her treatment plan which included surgery and chemotherapy.  Cheryl’s team consisted of PMC Oncologist, Vickie Morgan; Radiologist, Brad Wells; General Surgeon, Grady Stephens; and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dimitrios Danikas.

When it comes to cancer treatment, time is vitally important.  Treating cancer at an early stage often provides the best chance for a cure and the best long-term outlook for the patient.

Cheryl Preece, whose journey is the feature of the current television commercial for Pikeville Medical Center, says she cannot thank the staff who took care of her enough.

“I was blessed, truly blessed. Everyone stepped up and made it happen,” explained Preece. “Through all of my fears, they were there with me, taking care of everything quickly and efficiently.  They saved my life.”

She says she knows God answers prayers and knows He guided her PMC team to help her overcome cancer.