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Access to Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center Affiliation ‘Huge’ in Battle with Rare Cancer

June 01, 2022 Posted in: Cancer Care  1 minute read time

Brian Welch, 57, faced a difficult road ahead after being diagnosed with a rare cancer in late 2020. After feeling a knot underneath his jawbone in November 2020, doctors discovered a tumor in Brian’s salivary gland. 

“I was fortunate enough that my wife Jane [a pharmaceutical representative] was familiar with Dr. Jessica Croley, so that’s who we went to,” Brian said. 

Dr. Croley removed the tumor from Brian’s salivary gland, but the next step for eliminating this aggressive cancer was to remove the salivary gland and 30 lymph nodes in his neck and chest. Dr. Croley referred Brian to the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center through CHI Saint Joseph Health’s affiliation for the surgery.

“I didn’t know what to expect, and it was scary because that’s the place you go when it’s something serious,” he said. “I was told what I had was mysterious and very aggressive.”

As it turned out, the affiliation provided the best course of action for Brian’s rare case, he said. 

“It was huge having access to Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center,” Brian said. “It was really convenient, and it worked out great.”

Brian Welch

Brian also praised the care he received from the team at CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care Center in Lexington, who cared for him during his several rounds of radiation therapy after his second surgery.

“The team was first class,” Brian said. “They bent over backwards for me. I can’t say enough about them.”

Faced with a long recovery, Brian said he relied on his family to give him hope during his journey, constantly praying and trying to stay positive while undergoing difficult surgeries and treatment. 

“I learned how to be patient,” Brian said. “It’s the only thing you can do when you’re sick, so you have to wait to get better.” 

Brian went into remission in July 2021, about eight months after his diagnosis.

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