Receiving a cancer diagnosis, let alone for a rare, aggressive form of cancer, can be earth-shattering. But when 46-year-old Dakota Neal was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 2005, there was no question but to fight back aggressively. “I didn’t think my diagnosis was a death sentence. I didn’t want my kids to get stressed. I thought if I stayed positive, my kids would see that and wouldn’t stress about it,” she said. Dakota’s story of fighting and surviving leiomyosarcoma, a very rare type of sarcoma, is just one of many miraculous stories of survival featured in Miracle Survivors: Beating the Odds of Incurable Cancer, a collection of interviews by Tami Boehmer.
Dakota Neal’s courageous battle with sarcoma began when her doctors discovered a stage IV tumor in one of her tibias, stretching from below the knee to her ankle. Following numerous biopsies and surgeries to replace the affected tibia, Dakota’s doctors concluded that she would have to lose her leg in order to combat the aggressive disease. After the amputation, she was referred to Dr. Sant Chawla, director of the Sarcoma Oncology Center in Santa Monica. Where other oncologists told Dakota there was no more they could do for her, Dr. Chawla gave her the hope she deserved. “He said, ‘We’re going to treat you as aggressively as we can. You’re young and healthy’,” Dakota said.
When faced with the choice between life and death, Dakota turned to her family and chose optimism at every step in order to keep fighting. With Dr. Chawla and the exceptional team of specialists at the Sarcoma Oncology Center, Dakota had the latest, state-of-the-art treatments that effectively destroyed the disease that threatened to take her life, even when the disease recurred in her spine. There was no doubt that the disease could be beaten.
Contact One of Our Specialists
The doctors at the Sarcoma Oncology Center are specialists in sarcoma care and partner with oncologists from renowned institutions such as USC, Stanford and UCLA. The Center’s physicians are dedicated to improving both the physical and emotional health of each patient and encourage each one to actively participate in their cancer care. Contact us at (310) 879-1099 to schedule a consultation with one of our oncologists today.
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