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Rita Stuart: Building a Team to Tackle Cancer Together

Dr. Sethi answered all of my toughest questions, patiently explained every piece of my treatment, and made me feel empowered and in control. Absolutely that helped in my recovery.”

Rita Stuart
Colon Cancer

Rita Stuart found herself overcome with sadness when she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in June 2018. In fact, she broke down and cried when she received the news. But the compassion of her care team and the trust she placed in them, became a source of strength for Rita, building the resilience she needed to aggressively fight back against her disease.

Finding Her Match

Rita went to the hospital after experiencing severe pain for what she expected to be an abscess. Doctors, instead, found a very large tumor – and stage III colorectal cancer. When Rita met Sanjay Sethi, M.D., medical oncologist of Texas Oncology–Sugar Land, she immediately felt that his warmth, comfort, and transparency made them a great match. 

Dr. Sethi eased many of Rita’s anxieties, giving her time to fully absorb the news and opportunity take an active interest in her care. “You have to come to grips with it – you hear the word, and you always associate it with death. If that’s all you know, you think that will inevitably happen,” Rita said. She reached a turning point when she could finally relax and put her full faith in Dr. Sethi. 

Partners in the Journey

Rita’s treatment included multiple rounds of chemotherapy under Dr. Sethi’s care, with radiation under the care of Vivek Kavadi, M.D., FASTRO, radiation oncologist at Texas Oncology–Sugar Land, followed by surgery. Her final chemotherapy treatment was April 5, 2019. Rita’s final CT scans did not show any obvious evidence of cancer, but she will continue to be under surveillance. “While Rita’s journey wasn’t without challenges, her positivity and cooperation throughout treatment demonstrated how hard she fought against her disease,” said Dr. Sethi.

Rita believes her strong relationship with Dr. Sethi contributed to a more positive cancer journey. “I always knew what to expect. It makes all the difference. If he told me something, I knew it was gospel, whether it be good news or bad news,” Rita said. “Dr. Sethi answered all of my toughest questions, patiently explained every piece of my treatment, and made me feel empowered and in control. Absolutely that helped in my recovery.”

Rita says she received found consistent and personal support from her entire care team. She also built a strong relationship with the chief radiation therapist Vince O’Connor. “I was so scared during my CT scan. Vince sat next to me and held my hand the entire time,” Rita said. 

These were the relationships she’d come to rely on throughout her journey. She said they helped make her feel like she was part of the decision-making process, and that they ensured she was never in the dark about her treatment, options, or prognosis. “There were always tough times, but Dr. Sethi and the team made things better. That’s important because you’re not going in just to get stitches. You’re signing on for the long-haul.”

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.