High School Teacher Overcomes Tumor

As a mother and high school teacher, Dina Marks had every reason to experience daily headaches. By January 2013, however, an unrelated blood test revealed the true source of her headaches: Marks, at age 34, was diagnosed with a tumor on her pituitary gland.

At Saint Thomas West Hospital, Marks received treatment through the Unity System, the first fully-integrated brain tumor center of its kind in the United States. With a team of specialists working as one unit to provide a comprehensive approach, Marks underwent a combination of surgical and radiation. When it was all said and done, she only missed three weeks of school before being given a clean bill of health.

Today, Marks remains cancer free, thanks to the doctors, the diligent surgical planning and the state-of-the art equipment at Saint Thomas West.

As a patient, Marks says that the doctors of the Unity program provided her with an invaluable sense of comfort and confidence.

“There was a clear plan right from the beginning, concerning the different types of treatment we could do,” Marks said. “It was obvious that I didn’t have just one doctor— I had a whole team of people who knew exactly what was going on and who were all working together to get me healed. It make made me feel truly secure.”

During her main surgical procedure, the Unity team used MRI imaging to scan her brain as they removed her tumor. This required the live coordination of several members of her care team, including her endocrinologist, radiologist and lead brain surgeon.

“They made it very clear that no one person would be doing surgery, and they kept that promise,” Marks says. “I couldn’t be happier or more grateful for the care they gave me.”

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