Beth Gamber

The odds were stacked against Beth Gamber. Beth, who is over age 55, smoked for over 40 years and has a family history of cancer, which significantly increased her own risk of developing the disease. Her brother passed away from lung cancer at age 68, and lung, breast, colon and brain cancer run in her family.

In 2013, at the urging of her close friend and Delaware County Memorial Hospital employee Debbie Simon, Beth had a lung cancer screening CT scan at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, which is a member of the Crozer-Keystone Health System and a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner. The fast, painless test looks for abnormalities in the lungs. After her CT scan, Beth received both good and bad news.

The bad news was that the test revealed a small nodule on her left lung. The good news was that after having a follow-up PET scan, cancer was not found elsewhere in her body. As is typical with former and current smokers, Beth was advised to receive periodic CT screenings to watch the nodule. “I had abused my body, and, more importantly, my lungs for too many years, and I was paying the price for it,” Beth said. “I had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and now a nodule on my lungs. With that, I quit smoking, cold turkey.”

In 2014, Beth had a follow-up CT scan. More bad news came: the nodule had grown. Patti Hollenback, nurse navigator for the Crozer-Keystone Lung Program, helped Beth set up a follow-up appointment with Stacey Su, MD. Dr. Su is a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center and director of Thoracic Surgical Oncology at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Through the Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners Program, Fox Chase physicians treat patients at select Partner hospitals, bringing advanced care to the local community.

Dr. Su presented Beth with several treatment options, and Beth decided to forego a biopsy and have the nodule removed. In early November 2013, the nodule was removed and diagnosed as stage 1A lung cancer. This round of bad news came with good news, fortunately. Because the nodule was caught early, Beth would not need chemotherapy or radiation. “Dr. Su, her physician’s assistant Kerry, Patti Hollenback, and the whole staff were caring and compassionate,” Beth said. “I thank them all for what they did for me.”

Beth’s recovery included oxygen therapy as well as physical therapy. She feels that the course of events has truly changed her life. She no longer needs medication, has been smoke-free for over two years, and continues to walk as much as she can to increase her lung capacity.

Beth follows up with regular screening CT scans to make sure her lungs continue to stay clear—another requirement for ex- and current smokers. “I can honestly say that I have not felt this good in a long, long time,” she says. “I am happy to say that I am a lung cancer survivor.”

Learn more at

Connect with Fox Chase