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Difficult Diagnosis Inspires Cancer Patient to Empower Others

Oncologist talking with patient
Patient Brian Jungferman, right, talks with Kan Huang, MD, a medical oncologist and hematologist with the Phelps Health Delbert Day Cancer Institute.

Published on March 3, 2020

When Brian Jungferman was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at age 36, the journey ahead of him looked frightening and difficult. However, with comprehensive care and support from a team of experts at the Phelps Health Delbert Day Cancer Institute (DDCI), Jungferman was determined to create a positive outlook for himself since he began treatments in May 2019.

Prior to his diagnosis, Jungferman experienced periods where he would black out, which raised questions about his health. His provider recommended a colonoscopy to determine the root cause of his symptoms. Normally recommended for people age 45 and older, a colonoscopy is a screening test for colon and rectal cancer. Through this procedure and combined with further testing, Jungferman received a life-altering diagnosis of stage IV colon cancer.

“Finding out that I had stage IV colon cancer was shocking,” Jungferman said. “There is no history of cancer in my family, and I had been healthy my whole life up until my diagnosis.”

After learning that he had stage IV colon cancer, Jungferman underwent surgery to remove part of his colon and several lymph nodes. In May of 2019, he began treatment at the DDCI under the care of medical oncologist and hematologist Kan Huang, MD, PhD, MS, and Becky Witham, FNP-C, AOCNP.

“I’ve responded well to my treatments,” said Jungferman. “After the first round, the cancer shrunk by 50% and has only continued to decrease with each additional treatment.”

A native of Rolla, MO, Jungferman and his wife Ashley have been impressed by the quality of care their family has received at the DDCI.

“Susan Buhr, an oncology social worker, was one of the first staff I interacted with at the Phelps Health DDCI. I could not have done any of this without her,” he said, noting that Buhr was able to make a terrible situation manageable. “She walked me through every step of my diagnosis and answered every question I had.”

Receiving care close to home made a positive impact on Jungferman and his family, who have been able to spend more time together and less time traveling to receive treatment.

“After visiting other hospitals in larger cities, it was easy to choose Phelps Health as my cancer treatment center, and I am so glad that I did,” said Jungferman. “My care team here provides the same level of treatment as anywhere else.”

Jungferman’s experience at the DDCI continues to be a positive one, with an integrated care team of physicians, nurses and staff to support him every step of the way.

“I would absolutely recommend the Phelps Health DDCI to anyone who is battling cancer. Every person who I have interacted with here has made me feel like I matter and that I am important to them. You can’t replicate that,” said Jungferman. “Since day one, every single member of my care team has been there for me and my family.”

About the Phelps Health Delbert Day Cancer Institute

The Phelps Health Delbert Day Cancer Institute includes designated areas for radiation oncology, medical oncology, laboratory and imaging services, infusion and pharmacy services. Learn more about the DDCI by clicking here or calling (573) 458-3324.

Found in: Cancer Care Colorectal Cancer Delbert Day Cancer Institute Health Medical Oncology Patients Services Social Work