If you name it, Rita Handley has probably been through it. A survivor who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, Rita has since dealt with a metastasis of her breast cancer into the bones of her back. Still, she keeps going.
"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had a 12-year-old daughter," says Rita. "The thought of dealing with cancer that could take my life was frightening, to say the least."
After an initial diagnosis from David Caulkins, MD, FACS, general surgeon at Augusta Health, Rita underwent a partial mastectomy and removal of her lymph nodes, followed by radiation and then six months of chemotherapy. Four years later, the cancer returned, this time in her back.
"My disease isn't curable, but I'm still here—the cancer has not advanced any more," says Rita. "All of my continuing cancer treatments and appointments are at the Augusta Health Cancer Center. I have always had the best care with these physicians. That's why I'm still living. When the cancer first came back, my daughter Katey was 17. It was my goal to watch her grow up. Now, my goal is to meet my grandkids."