Joe Atkinson’s story

I am a cancer survivor:

 

At Christmas, 1998, at the age of 52, I received word that an excised “cyst” turned out to be a 4th stage cancer, a rare and aggressive form called desmoplastic melanoma. My outlook was bleak and I was deeply in despair. Family, friends, my employer and my very compassionate and down-to-earth family doctor helped me get through these dark days.

 

Fortunately, Dr. Peter Neligan of the Princess Margaret Hospital took interest in my case and subsequently he and Dr. Patrick Gullane undertook radical neck dissection surgery. After meeting these fine doctors, my spirits began to rise and I began to have hope.

 

Even though the pathology results from the surgery were “non-positive”, I decided to proceed with radiation where another fine Radiation Oncologist, Dr. O’Sullivan, treated me. My decision was centred on my concern that, if the cancer reappeared five years down the road, I would kick myself for not having done everything that I could, to treat the affliction when I had the opportunity. My psyche continued to improve. My outlook was that I am here today and will be tomorrow, so cherish each day. Interferon treatment ensued for a year back in Kingston under the care of a very competent Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhower at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario.

 

A have been extremely fortunate to have a wonderful, caring spouse and the care of a fine team of doctors, including my current dermatologist, Dr. Ruth MacSween. Almost 14 years later I am still here to tell you that life is good.

 

Don’t ever lose hope!

Making awareness and education available is crucial. Since 2006, the Foundation has worked to raise awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers focusing on education, prevention and the need for improved patient care.
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