After suffering a persistent cough and a constant feeling of phlegm in her throat, Jan, 53, an administrative secretary, went to see an ENT specialist and learned she had tonsil cancer, a rare head and neck cancer that affects only about 15 percent of the population.
After having surgery at a local hospital to remove the tumor from her throat, Jan decided to get a second opinion at The James to make sure she was doing everything she could to prevent a recurrence.
“I just felt that The James and cancer went together, so I wanted to go there to make sure I was okay.” - Jan
Having worked as a secretary in the medical field for nearly 30 years, Jan was very familiar with The James and its reputation as one of the nation’s leading cancer centers. In her experience, The James is “where everybody goes” who needs a cancer diagnosis, treatment or second opinion.
Jan went to meet Dr. Enver Ozer, one of the first surgical oncologists in Ohio to perform robotic surgery for head and neck cancers. Dr. Ozer discussed her treatment options and suggested that she have da Vinci® robotic surgery to perform precautionary spacing that would remove tissue around where her tumor had been to prevent the cancer from returning.
“I was impressed with Dr. Ozer’s kindness, extensive knowledge and robotic surgery experience.”
Backed by Dr. Ozer’s detailed explanation of the procedure, Jan set off to find out everything she could about the benefits of robotic surgery. She did a lot of online research and learned that minimally invasive procedures are more precise, less painful than traditional surgery, offer a faster recovery and cause less scarring. Reassured by these findings, Jan scheduled her robotic surgery.
Jan’s surgery at The James was in two parts. First, Dr. Ozer used the da Vinci® robot to perform additional precautionary spacing, precisely removing tissue from the area where the cancer had been. Next, he removed 18 lymph nodes from her neck. As it turned out, one of those nodes had a cancer cell in it, but because Dr. Ozer had removed all of them, Jan didn’t need to have radiation or chemotherapy.
Jan’s robotic surgery went smoothly, and when she woke up and was given the news about the cancer cell, she couldn’t thank Dr. Ozer enough for finding and removing it. She returned home after three days and says that the robot’s precision caused her less pain and helped her recover faster.
“He saved my life. I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Ozer, and the rest of the staff at The James.”
Today, Jan is cancer free and has returned to the job and coworkers she loves. She is extremely happy that she chose to have robotic surgery at The James…and that she followed her heart and decided to get a second opinion.
“It feels wonderful to be a survivor. I hope that I’m a survivor for the next 30 years.”