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Breast Cancer Survivor's Message of Hope: 'Don't Wait to Get Help'

A 36-year-old Tampa Bay woman shares her experience with breast cancer and urges other women to get screened.

After Nong Thornton had just given birth to her fourth child, she felt a hard, painful lump in her breast. While still in the hospital, a physician examined the 36-year-old mother of four and determined it was not suspicious.

She had no other symptoms, nor did she have a family history of cancer, or risk factors.

However, a hospital midwife thought otherwise.

Before being discharged and bringing home her new baby, Thornton mentioned the lump to the midwife on staff.

Five months later, the new mom received a certified letter in the mail from this midwife, begging her to get a second opinion.

“I was so busy raising four kids and I had no symptoms. If it wasn’t for the midwife tracking me down, I don’t know where I would be today,” she said.

The next week was a blur: She made an appointment for an ultrasound, was sent for a mammogram the next day, and had a biopsy the next.

She was then told she had stage III cancer in her left breast, meaning it had spread to her lymph nodes.

“I just went into survival mode,” Thornton says. The following month she started her aggressive treatment plan: a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment.

Thornton received her radiation treatment at WellSpring Oncology in Pinellas Park.

“The moment I walked in the door it just felt like they understood,” Thornton explains. “With everything that was going on, I felt that this place was just wonderful – from the front staff, to Dr. Solc, who took the time to explain everything and answer all my questions.”

In addition to treating her cancer, WellSpring Oncology provided Thanksgiving dinner for her family and gave them the Christmas her children could have never had otherwise, all through the Giving Tree fund.

The cancer center also sponsored her son’s little league team for their on-the-road tournament, supplying snacks and drinks for the team.

“The support of my family, WellSpring Oncology and confidence in the aggressive treatment plan we chose together made the experience much easier to go through,” she says. “Had I not gotten a second opinion, I don’t know where I would be now."

Now one-year since her last treatment, Nong Thornton is proud to be a survivor, spreading awareness and volunteering through WellSpring Oncology support and outreach efforts to help other women like her.

She says, “If I can help just one woman like the midwife helped me, I will know that my ordeal was worth it.”

About WellSpring Oncology:
Doctors Robert Miller, Zucel Solc and Frank Franzese opened the doors of WellSpring Oncology in the spring of 2008 to provide high-end treatment in a more personal and caring environment. The doctors at WellSpring Oncology have been practicing innovative radiation therapy since the 1970’s and developed the center to ensure patients have access to the latest technology available in the treatment of cancer. The doctors of WellSpring Oncology are all Board Certified in radiation oncology and received their training at the top centers in the country, including MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of California, San Francisco. WellSpring Oncology is located at 6600 Sixty Sixth Street North in Pinellas Park, Florida.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact WellSpring Oncology at (727) 343-0600 or visit them online at www.WellSpringOncology.org.

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