Cynthia Newsome, a reporter and anchor for KSHB-TV in Kansas City, has inspired thousands of friends and viewers with her candid story of overcoming breast cancer. She remembers Feb. 15, 2012 – the day of her last radiation treatment – as one of the most joyful days of her life.
“My husband, Ed, and I arrived at the hospital that day with 33 pink balloons representing the 33 radiation treatments I had received,” she said. “On each balloon, I attached a note with the scripture verse Philippians 4:23: `May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.’
“We gave some balloons to nurses and patients, and left others in patient dressing rooms to surprise and encourage strangers still undergoing treatment. We walked outside with the remaining balloons, whispered a prayer and let go. We watched as they floated toward heaven, grateful that God had safely brought me through the battle.”
Newsome has spent the last seven years tirelessly volunteering for organizations that fight cancer and encouraging others who face similar battles. However, her world was rocked in early February when doctors shared the results of a recent biopsy. Her cancer was back.
“I didn’t cry,” Newsome said. “I was seriously stunned. I thought after seven years of being cancer-free, the likelihood of the cancer returning was rare. I was right: recurrence is rare, but it can and did happen to me.”
The biopsy was followed by a series of blood tests, MRIs, two PET scans and several CAT scans. The results revealed two additional tumors, one is in the lymph nodes under her right arm and a second, larger mass is under her left breast in the chest wall. The diagnosis was metastatic breast cancer.
“It’s also known as stage-four breast cancer, and it means the cancer has spread from my breast to other parts of my body,” she said. “Metastatic breast cancer can occur in people 10 to 15 years after their original diagnosis, even after successful treatment. And when it does recur, it’s often missed in regular check-ups and annual mammograms.”
The tests showed that her organs, bones, brain and soft tissue are cancer-free.
“That’s a huge relief,” Newsome said. “Right now, the cancer is isolated to the three tumors we discovered, so I’m anxious to start my treatment. There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, but I’m encouraged by information from the National Cancer Institute that working with my physician on a drug treatment plan, along with diet, exercise and social and emotional support, will improve my quality of life and life expectancy.”
Newsome is continuing her work at KSHB as she begins chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Her colleagues at the station recently wore ribbons in her honor. Just as she did during her first cancer fight, she believes being transparent is the best way to encourage others
“Despite all the uncertainty, Ed and I are at peace,” she said. “We trust that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will guide us and give our doctors the wisdom to make the right decisions. I am in God’s hands. It is well with my soul.”