It's a good thing Trinette Mengel of Dear Lake, Pa., gets a mammogram every year. “When they called and said they’d spotted something, I thought, ‘I’ve been through this before – it’ll be nothing,’” Mengel says. Instead it was a highly aggressive tumor. “Thank God they caught it early,” she says. Treatment included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
“Aggressive cancers often require all three,” says radiation oncologist Jeanette Blauth, MD, with Allentown Radiation Oncology Associates. “Trinette’s cancer was small but nasty.”
“If not for my three children, I would not have made it through,” Mengel says. Six months of chemotherapy were particularly challenging. “At three months, I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ and they said, ‘Come on, Mom, you only have three more to go.’” Her extended family and social network also chipped in with support and transportation.
“She always had friends and family around her,” says surgical oncologist Lori Alfonse, DO, with LVPG Surgical Oncology. “It’s a big help to know you’re not in it alone. People with support systems often do better in treatment.”
“It meant a lot to me that my kids and others were there for me,” Mengel says. “I went through a difficult nine months, but I’m glad for it. If I hadn’t, the aggressive
cancer I had would have killed me.”