Compassionate Care Keeps a Cedar Run Man Coming Back to Trusted Oncologist

Jim Sandor reading the newspaper

August 01, 2022

Clinical Contributors to this story:
Every year, Jim Sandor, 83, diligently went to the doctor. “I usually brought a list of concerns, but at this one appointment in 2009, I had no issues,” the Cedar Run, New Jersey, resident says. So he was surprised when his blood work revealed something amiss. After a series of scans, bone marrow biopsies and more bloodwork, Jim was diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive lymphoma. 
 
He connected with Paul K. Chung, M.D., a hematologist and oncologist at Southern Ocean Medical Center, for treatment. “Dr. Chung was always so calm and confident, and he assured me that he’d be able to put my lymphoma into remission,” says Jim. “Dr. Chung is compassionate, down-to-earth and never rushed me out of the office. He spent time with me and always made sure I was getting the best care possible.”
 
Jim also liked that Dr. Chung took his case to the tumor board. “Doctors and nurses from oncology, radiology and other departments went over my case, and it was, in essence, a second opinion,” he says.
 
After eight months of chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies treatment (synthetic versions of the body’s immune system designed to attack a specific target), Jim’s lymphoma went into remission. “We had a celebration with all our friends and family,” he says.
 

A Second Battle With Cancer

Over the years, Jim continued to see Dr. Chung for follow-ups. Unfortunately, about three years ago, cancer struck again. This time it was multiple myeloma, which was especially frightening for Jim. “A very close friend of ours died from multiple myeloma, so when Dr. Chung gave me the news, I thought it was a death sentence,” he says.
 
But Dr. Chung reassured him. “All the treatment advances that have been developed in the last five years or so have caused experts to redefine myeloma. It is now considered a potentially curable cancer,” says Dr. Chung.
 
Jim took a deep breath and once again put his trust in Dr. Chung. “We never considered going with anyone else,” says Jim. “Dr. Chung is knowledgeable, so easy to talk to, and the way he treated me all through my first experience made the decision of who to treat me the second time an easy one.”
 
Two years of infusions and oral medications helped Jim achieve remission once again.
 

Treating the Whole Patient

Jim’s faith in Dr. Chung didn’t end there. On a recent visit, Dr. Chung noticed Jim didn’t seem like himself. “He had slightly garbled speech, which can be a sign of a stroke,” says Dr. Chung. Jim went to several doctors, all of whom told him the issue was a side effect from the maintenance medication he took to keep the myeloma in remission.
 
“But I know this disease and these medications, and they just don’t do that,” says Dr. Chung. He continued to dig and sent Jim for scans of his brain. 

Finally, Dr. Chung discovered the problem: a rare neurological condition called vertebrobasilar insufficiency, which inhibits blood flow to the back portion of the brain, which is fed by two vertebral arteries. Blockage of these arteries occurs over time through plaque build-up. Luckily, this condition can be treated by keeping the brain’s blood supply strong.
 
“As medical oncologists, we are trained in oncology, hematology and internal medicine. Every day, and in all of our patients, we’re calling on all of our training and experience to treat the entire person,” Dr. Chung says.


Next Steps & Resources:

  • Meet our source: Paul K. Chung, M.D.
  • To make an appointment with Dr. Chung or an oncologist near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.
  • Learn more about cancer care at Hackensack Meridian Health
     
    The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
     

     
 
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