Cancer warnings

by Christa Lollis

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Today if you met Lauren you wouldn't know she's had surgery and radiation to get rid of two brain tumors. Except for the fact that her right side reacts a little slower than her left, she's grown up with few side effects.

But it's those small differences that had her mom concerned when Lauren was only two. "I was wobbly on my feet. I had just learned how to walk but I would come up to a staircase and look straight up and fall over backwards so she knew ok, something's wrong with my child," KTRE's anchor Lauren Heflin explained.

And she was right. After a CAT Scan at Texas Children's Hospital, Lauren's doctor diagnosed her with a brain tumor and that wouldn't be the only time she got that diagnosis. "The first time it was about the size of a ping pong ball and then the second time it came back when I was six it was little bit larger and I guess it was more aggressive each time. It was an astrocytoma and each time it spreads out like fingers."

While the experience has been a scary time for Lauren, she also knows without being checked out her diagnosis could have been much worse. "I know that the answer may not always be something you want to hear and sometimes that your hesitation to get checked out but it's definitely worth it because the sooner you catch it, the greater your chances of recovery."

And recovery numbers are going up every day. Doctor Sid Roberts says, "The majority of people who get cancer are cured today, more than 50 percent and if you look at the main cancers breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, we cure 80, 90 percent or more of those."

Lauren counts herself as part of that success rate but even 20 years later, it still weighs heavy on her mind. "I worry that if it ever does come back that it will beat me." That's why she keeps getting checked every five years and hopes others will be as diligent.