Cancer care: Patient with rare cancer relies on Holy Name’s experts for ‘amazing’ care

Cindy Cerone, pictured, has always been the type to fight, and she never gives up on life’s challenges. So, when she was diagnosed with rare vulva cancer, her gynecologist recommended Dr. Sharyn Lewin, medical director of gynecologic oncology at Holy Name, to help to her in the battle.   

“I’m definitely scared — how can you not be scared? — but I’ve never lost hope,” Cerone said. “I’m not going to let this beat me.”

Lewin, renowned for her expertise in all types of gynecologic cancers, immediately recognized vulva cancer and outlined the treatment options. She advised surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Since the cancer spread to the lymph nodes, Cerone’s surgery was delicate and complicated.

“It was a serious surgery, but from Dr. Lewin to all the nurses and technicians, to the visiting nurses who came to my home after I was discharged — they were so professional and comforting,” Cerone said. “The care I received at Holy Name was amazing.”

It took months for Cerone to heal before she could start radiation and chemotherapy. When it was time, Cerone met with Dr. Benjamin Rosenbluth, chief of radiation oncology at Holy Name. Together, Rosenbluth and Lewin prepared an individualized treatment plan. Cerone would need 35 daily radiation treatments, with six simultaneous chemotherapy sessions to enhance the radiation’s effect on the cancer cells.

Finally, her treatments were over and she was back to living her life, working two jobs and seeing her family and friends. She went for regular scans.

In the five years since her initial diagnosis, Cerone’s cancer has twice returned. Both times, she turned again to Lewin and Rosenbluth for their expertise and guidance. 

“We don’t know why my cancer keeps returning, but I know they’re doing everything they can to treat me,” Cerone said. “And I really trust them. Dr. Lewin is so much more than a doctor — she treats you like family. And Dr. Rosenbluth also takes a lot of time to explain my treatment. He told me how invested in me the staff was, and I could feel that.”

Now, Cerone is out of treatment and regaining her strength and wellness. She’s looking forward to getting back to one of her jobs working in a ticket office at a local stadium. 

She’s also looking forward to again attending some of the in-person events offered through Cancer Support Community at Holy Name. She credits Courtney Lozano, the director of CSC, with helping her find online support during COVID.   

“The support I’ve received from the Cancer Support Community has been just as great as the care I received from those who treated me,” Cerone said. “Dr. Lewin, Dr. Rosenbluth and everyone at Holy Name who have been involved with my treatment have made such a difference. They really got me through this.”

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