Local News

Cancer Patient Fights With Attitude and Spirit

Posted March 22, 2007 10:32 p.m. EDT
Updated March 22, 2007 11:00 p.m. EDT

— A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes in this country. Experts say 20 percent of all breast cancer patients have a recurrence. Most cancer patients say the key to survival is remaining optimistic, and Catherine Lane is one of them.

Lane is 64. She thought she had defeated the cancer, but—like Elizabeth Edwards told the nation has happened to her—the disease came back in her bones.

But Lane, again like Edwards, is fighting, not surrendering.

“Once they've determined what it is, you just take the bull by the horns and do everything they say to do,” Lane said.

Dr. Jeff Crane is Lane’s oncologist. He said a cancer relapse is humbling for anyone who successfully battled the disease. Attitude and determination matter a lot, though.

“I encourage my patients to think of this not as a sprint, not a 50-yard dash, but a marathon,” Crane says.

The race they face and their pluck are two things Lane and Edwards share.

“I wished I could have hugged her!” Lane said after Edwards and her husband, presidential candidate John Edwards, met the cameras to say that they have a new cancer battle on their hands.

Lane also found her cancer recurrence in a similar way to Edwards.

“Right after Thanksgiving, we were putting up our Christmas tree. I had not an actual fall, but a misstep around the tree trying to decorate it. I fell and I heard a pop before I hit the floor,” she said.

That pop, which turned out to be a fractured hip, saved her life, Lane said.

“It was God-given. I say God-given because I certainly would have never known this until much later, and I think it's in a treatable condition right now,” Lane said.

Crane says that while any relapse is serious, Lane's condition—like Elizabeth Edwards’—is manageable with treatment.

Lane feels the same way. She has undergone radiation and chemotherapy. She says a positive attitude and a deep sense of faith are part of the arsenal, too.

“I wake up every morning thinking this is a wonderful day. I'm thankful to be here. I intend to fight, and I intend to win, and I believe I will,” Lane said.