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Amanda Racan - Patient Story

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"From my first appointment with Dr. Reddy, I felt confident and at ease."

— Amanda Racan, Wife, Mother, Melanoma Survivor

A year before her diagnosis of melanoma on her left lateral thigh, Amanda Racan’s younger sister, who loves in Maryland, was diagnosed with the same cancer. “My sister’s diagnosis shook our family,” recalls Amanda, 35. “We faced so many unknowns. Thanks to prompt treatment, she beat it, and just had her first baby. 

Amanda's sister, a melanoma survivor, urged her to see a physician.

Fast forward one year, in June, 2015, Amanda was very busy finishing up her last year of nursing school. She was married with two young boys. Then she noticed something. “I had a mole on my left thigh and I couldn’t remember if it had always been there. Truthfully, there was nothing about the way the mole looked that was that concerning. My worry stemmed from the fact that I could not remember it being there and now I had a family member with melanoma,” she remembers. “I spent some time ignoring the mole. I kept telling myself, 'as soon as school is over I’ll go to the doctor.' Then my younger sister saw the mole and told me that I better get to the doctor to get that looked at.  Her words struck me and I realized she was right.”

Following her sister’s advice, Amanda made an appointment to see a dermatologist and was in the office within two days. “The mole was removed and I had some time to wait for the results. When the nurse practitioner walked into my follow up appointment, I just knew it was melanoma. I was right,” shares Amanda. “There wasn’t much information she could give me right then. She said I’d need treatment at a cancer center. I broke down in tears in the office.”

Questions and fear entered Amanda’s mind. She pondered lots of questions to herself: How do I tell my husband and kids? How do I tell my sisters? How do I tell my mom and dad, who already went through this already with another child? 

Amanda realized that her life was about to change.

“I told my husband when I got home and he assured me that we would get through it. I called my mom and sobbed as I told her. She stayed as strong as she could,” Amanda says. “I’m sure that was nearly impossible. I tried to remain strong, but inside I was struggling. My future was uncertain. All I wanted was to have the chance to be a mom and watch my boys grow up. This was the scariest time of my life.”

The next day Amanda’s sister called to report she had found a doctor for her. She suggested Amanda make an appointment with Sanjay S. Reddy, MD, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

“I called immediately and everyone I spoke to was very helpful.  They understood my concerns and did everything they could to get me in immediately.  They really walked me through the entire process. Everything was very clear, even directions into the parking lot. They took the guess work out of everything, and that is exactly what I needed,” Amanda continues. "From my first appointment with Dr. Reddy, I felt confident and at ease."

"Meeting Dr. Reddy was very calming and therapeutic."

“Meeting Dr. Reddy was very calming and therapeutic.  You could tell immediately that he has a passion for what he does,” Amanda says. “He is very intelligent and he tells the truth.  He is optimistic and realistic at the same time.”

In June, 2015, Dr. Reddy performed surgery to remove the residual malignant melanoma on her left lateral thigh. The second surgery, in September 2015, was the sentinel lymph node biopsy. Fortunately, the lymph node biopsy was negative meaning the cancer had not spread.

Dr. Reddy gave Amanda his cell phone number so she could call with any questions. “That was one of the most helpful things he could have done,” shares Amanda. “Just knowing I could call him if I needed to was amazing. He was prompt and delivered all results quickly.”

“Dr. Reddy is kind, incredibly intelligent and combines his knowledge with amazing bedside manner. He is truly the complete package when it comes to doctors.  Being able to face families with bad news has to be one of the hardest things to do, but he finds a way to do it with grace. I’m blessed to know him,” Amanda says.

In 2016, Amanda and Ryan celebrated 8 years of marriage. “We have two young boys, Brody and Maxton. They are the wildest and craziest and most loving boys in the world. I am blessed to have a close knit family and their support made this experience much easier,” she adds.

Amanda is a registered nurse in New Jersey. “I’m so happy I chose this path. I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be. It took me some time to find my way, but I love my career. Every experience in my life, has led me to this and I’m thankful to have a career that is so fulfilling,” Amanda continues.

She believes that choosing to have her cancer care at Fox Chase was the best decision possible. “Thank you Fox Chase. Thank you for saving my life,” Amanda adds. “I hate to sound dramatic, but at the end of the day, it’s my truth. Had I not gone to the doctors a year ago, my story may be very different. I urge others to check their skin, don’t ignore anything.  Melanoma is an aggressive cancer, but caught early it can be treated. Be an advocate for yourself. Talk to others about the dangers and signs of melanoma. Wear sunscreen, stay out of tanning booths and protect your kids from sunburn. I’m thankful every single day that I have the opportunity to educate others and not be another statistic.”

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