St. Vincent's Medical Center doctor says cancer survival rates are improving
Doctors say 43% of people could receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. They say as treatments improve, survivor rates will continue to grow.
Tracy Flanagan, from Stratford, is living proof, but says it wasn't easy.
Flanagan says she went for a blood test last May and found out the next day on her 53rd birthday she had chronic leukemia.
"I guess my numbers were so sky high that they thought I was going to have a heart attack or a stroke," said Flanagan.
She got treatment and now takes a chemotherapy pill every day called Tasigna.
Dr. Vipra Sharma, with the cancer institute at St. Vincent's Medical Center, treated Flanagan. Sharma says Flanagan can now live a normal life expectancy.
"Now the diagnosis of cancer isn't always carrying the same grim diagnosis as it did before," said Sharma.
Sharma says this only applies to patients who are living with chronic leukemia. She says right now there are an estimated 17 million cancer survivors and by 2030 that number could be about 30 million.
"It does give us hope and that's what we need to hold on to," said Sharma.
That hope has Flanagan giving back. She has since created a line of products to inspire and empower women.
Some of her proceeds this month go the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport.
"You have a choice. You can get busy dying or you can get busy living," said Flanagan.