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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Student, 19, overcomes battle with cancer”

    Todd Lane, a pre-business sophomore, had more than the typical stress of midterms and bad roommates his freshman year at the UA.

    After a visit to Campus Health Service during his second semester, Lane discovered that he had testicular cancer.

    What followed was a series of events that prompted Lane to become invested in CatWalk, a 5-kilometer walk and 10k run around the UA campus that helps raise money for women’s cancer research, occurring this year Nov. 10.

    After the diagnosis, Lane returned to Boston, his hometown, and underwent surgery on March 15, his 19th birthday.

    After recovering from surgery, Lane returned to the UA and got the call a few weeks later that he would need to undergo four cycles of chemotherapy.

    Determined to not let his illness hold him back, Lane decided to continue going to

    college and flew home to Boston to undergo chemo every few weeks.

    “”On Friday, I’d finish chemo, and my dad would come pick me up and drive to the airport and then I’d fly back,”” Lane said. “”I basically wouldn’t do a lot for the next four days. I’d do nothing but just go to bed, I’d get up to eat maybe once and the rest of the time I’d just stay in bed.””

    Lane managed to continue to stay in school, taking 18 units and serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant, while simultaneously undergoing treatment.

    “”I had a 3.8 (grade-point average) for the second semester,”” Lane said. “”It put a nice exclamation point on the end of the semester.””

    Lane has grown up in the shadow of cancer for much of his life.

    His mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, then again four years later and is still fighting it today, Lane said.

    “”She’s kind of like me,”” he said. “”Nothing but a positive attitude.””

    The experience was made a bit easier for Lane and his mother as they received treatment in the same oncologist’s office in Boston and underwent chemo together on Mondays.

    “”It’s not a great experience to share, but it was a little easier to share it with my mom,”” Lane said.

    “”When I’d get my chemotherapy I’d be the youngest kid there by 40 or 50 years, and everyone’s like ‘Aren’t you too young,’ and I’m like, ‘Evidently not.’ “”

    Age 19 is a “”fairly typical age to get testicular cancer,”” said Lee Cranmer, an oncologist and assistant professor at the UA Cancer Center.

    In the past few years, there have been significant advancements in the treatment of testicular cancer, and it now has a high rate of recovery, Cranmer said.

    “”People can often carry on normal activities (during chemo) because of supportive-care advancements,”” Cranmer said.

    As with most cancer, the earlier testicular cancer is found, the more likely it can be treated effectively, Cranmer said. The easiest way to find it is by self-examination and a quick visit to a practitioner.

    “”When I first discovered it, I really thought it was testicular cancer because I know myself and I know my body,”” Lane said. “”I was already in the mindset that it might be cancer.””

    Campus Heath Service is a part of a larger community network of health services that can refer students to other local medical practices for additional treatment if they don’t know where to start, said Terri West, a Campus Health administrative associate.

    Campus Health’s 2007 Health and Wellness Survey showed that fewer men than women have visited the on-campus complex, a trend with most health services, said David Salafsky, Campus Health’s promotion and preventative services manager.

    Of the random sampling of students in spring classes, only 40 percent of men had used Campus Health, compared to 60 percent of women.

    To try to bring cancer awareness and encourage preventative measures, Lane said he is trying to get all the members of his Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house to participate in CatWalk next month.

    “”It kind of has a bigger meaning to me this year, with my mom and myself specifically,”” Lane said. “”It makes it more personal when I tell people my story.””

    It’s been a struggle, but Lane is now on the road to better health.

    “”I’m all set now, no more chemo, no more surgeries,”” Lane said. “”It’s a good feeling to have everything off your plate.””

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