Gerald & Jo Cottom

Between September, 1969 and February, 1972, Gerald was in the Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Lejeune. My son Bryan and I also lived at Camp Lejeune in base housing, and our daughter Melissa was conceived there in 1972.

In January of 2008, Gerald was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma of the right kidney with mets to the bone. In January and February of 2008 he received 18 radiation treatments to the sacral area to relieve bone pain, and in March 2008 he had a right nephrectomy to remove a very large tumor and the kidney. Later that year he had to have a pacemaker placed due to heart bradycardia that was possibly caused by the side affects of chemotherapy. He was on chemo for three years, until April 2011 when we were told that the cancer had continued to spread. It was now in his liver and lungs, and another round of treatment was necessary to try to slow the growth. In August 2011, Gerald became very ill and with further testing it was found that he had gallstones and his gallbladder had to be removed. Many complications followed that surgery with breathing issues caused by the lung cancer and fluid build-up due to only having one kidney. Gerald died on September 8, 2011 from complications of his renal cell carcinoma.

David Bedworth

In the fall of 2005, I went to see an oncologist in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was recovering from prostate cancer surgery and had just been diagnosed with a grade II brain tumor in my right frontal lobe. As both cancers were primary, I asked the oncologist if it was common for people to be diagnosed with two primary cancers in such a short period of time. He said that it was rare, but possible if the underlying cause of the disease was related to environmental or genetic factors.

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