Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, developed the podcast series Your Stories: Conquering Cancer to showcase unscripted conversations between patients, doctors, and the family and friends who conquer cancer with them.
During her senior year of college, Addison Brush was diagnosed with melanoma. In the latest Your Stories episode, “Ice Cream Helps Everything,” Addison speaks with her oncologist, Jason Luke, MD, FACP, about her personal experience with the disease. Together, they reflect on the moment Addison received her diagnosis, how she and her family selected a doctor, and how Dr. Luke’s personalized approach to care led to lifesaving treatment. It’s a story about navigating uncertainty and overcoming unique obstacles that younger adults with cancer face.
From date to disaster
“I don’t remember feeling like it was life-changing at the time,” says Addison about her initial melanoma diagnosis, which she thought was managed by a small procedure. But a sobering incident revealed her melanoma had spread, which greatly changed her perspective. While cooking with her boyfriend on their second date, Addison noticed her tongue felt strange. She went to the restroom to wait it out, but then the unexpected struck.
“He found me seizing in the restroom,” recounts Addison.
At the hospital, doctors discovered a tumor in the area of her brain that controls speech. “That’s when I was like, OK, this is for real,” says Addison. “This is scary.”
After brain surgery, Addison recalls waking up in the bed and asking if it was melanoma. “My parents nodded their heads,” says Addison. “That was a hard moment, because I knew I was in for a long haul.”
A personalized plan
In choosing an oncologist, it is important to feel comfortable with the doctor’s expertise and approach. After her initial meeting with Dr. Luke, Addison knew he was the best fit. Dr. Luke had designed a personalized immunotherapy treatment plan tailored to Addison’s unique needs, which eventually led her into remission.
“It was that trust we had in you that was so important,” Addison explains to Dr. Luke. “You made the decision that ultimately is credited for saving my life.”
Dr. Luke is a Conquer Cancer-funded award recipient. Learn more about his work with immunotherapy on the Conquer Cancer website. Cancer.Net is supported by Conquer Cancer. You can make a donation on the Conquer Cancer website.