By Amy Forni, Manager – Western Connecticut Health Network
Mary Bonomo, an 82-year-old resident of Bethel, Connecticut, spent the day after Christmas last year in an emergency department with shortness of breath. On New Year’s Eve 2016, she learned that cancer cells had migrated from her ovaries to her lungs. She was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. Mrs. Bonomo will celebrate this holiday season cancer-free thanks to the excellent care she received at Danbury Hospital.
Mrs. Bonomo was diagnosed while visiting her daughter in Maryland. She chose Danbury Hospital to manage her cancer when she returned home. She consulted with Vaagn Andikyan, MD, a Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) gynecological oncologist who practices at Danbury and Norwalk hospitals. Dr. Andikyan and a team of cancer experts from the Praxair Cancer Center at Danbury Hospital, including medical oncologist Wenli Gao, MD, recommended an intense treatment plan: systemic chemotherapy to reduce the cancerous tumors before undergoing major debulking surgery, followed by post-op chemotherapy.
According to the American Cancer Society, about half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older. The American Cancer Society also estimates that a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75, and her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100.
Mrs. Bonomo was one of the few patients over 80 years old to be treated for advanced ovarian cancer at Danbury Hospital in 2017.
Despite her age, Dr. Andikyan was optimistic that Mrs. Bonomo would respond well to the treatment plan because of her mindset and her support system, including her husband of 58 years, three children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.