January 2, 2019
An expert team helps a Brick Township woman with cervical cancer conquer the disease.
In July 2014, Amanda Tanay of Brick Township was 33 years old, the mother of a young daughter and newly diagnosed with cervical cancer. She was upset, anxious, full of questions and eager to meet her new gynecologic oncologist — Karim ElSahwi, M.D., FACOG, FACS, affiliated with the Perricone Center for Gynecologic Oncology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Amanda soon realized she had found the right doctor. “Dr. ElSahwi was very nice and understanding, and he gives off confidence,” Amanda shares. “Every time I asked him a question, he had an answer. If I had a fear, he had a compassionate answer with facts to back it up. He always made me feel as a patient that I’m important.”
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Because of the size of the cancerous tumor on Amanda’s cervix, she needed a radical hysterectomy. Dr. ElSahwi recommended robotic-assisted surgery, a minimally invasive technique that enables surgeons to operate with greater dexterity, precision and control than is possible with more traditional surgical approaches.
“Robotic-assisted surgery offers many advantages, including less blood loss, less pain, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery than open procedures,” Dr. ElSahwi says. The day after her surgery in August 2014 at Jersey Shore, Amanda was able to go home. Unfortunately, though, she would need further treatment because two of the 19 lymph nodes removed during her hysterectomy tested positive for cancer. Amanda had six weeks of chemoradiation therapy at Ocean Medical Center with Nathan Kaufman, M.D., medical director of Radiation Oncology at Ocean. Again, Amanda benefited from expert, compassionate care. “Dr. Kaufman was wonderful and so supportive through my treatment,” she says.
With help from her dedicated gynecologic oncology team, Amanda, now 37, has recovered from cancer and is feeling well. She stays busy with her 9-year-old daughter and her job as a copy editor and social media coordinator for the Monmouth County Park System.
She has also become a passionate advocate of cervical cancer prevention, hopeful to raise awareness of the disease. “It’s important for women to know that they can be their own best advocate,” Amanda says, “by seeing their doctors for annual well-woman visits and making sure they get the tests they need to stay healthy.”