Cancer Care at the Right Place, Right Time 

Nina Mathews credits survival to coordinated and compassionate care

Nina MatthewsAs a single mother of four children, Nina Mathews balances a lot between her family and her job as a supervisor at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

In early 2017, life became even more challenging for Nina when an abnormal pap smear led to a diagnosis of stage IB1 squamous cell cervical cancer. Today, following precise treatment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Nina is cancer-free and grateful for the doctors and nurses who cared for her.

Nina said she could have gone to another cancer care facility, but she chose The University of Kansas Cancer Center for a reason.

“I’m at the cancer center because of the care I receive here. I had a history of feeling like I wasn’t being heard by my doctors, and what I found at the cancer center was different. I don’t feel rushed. I know they’re going to take care of me, and they address all of my needs in one place,” Nina said.

A diagnosis and a hug

Her diagnosis came from obstetrics and gynecology resident Laura Parisi, MD, after a series of tests. Nina said Dr. Parisi created a “very human experience” when giving her the news.

“When she told me the diagnosis, it didn’t come across as routine, even though I know it’s something she does all the time. She gave me a quiet moment and a hug,” Nina said. Dr. Parisi referred Nina to gynecologic oncology specialist Andrea Jewell, MD, for an initial consultation. During the consultation, Nina also met with the entire gynecologic oncology team that would care for her during and after her hysterectomy.

“Our patients see the same faces throughout all stages of their cancer care, which we believe is important to creating an experience that minimizes the stress,” Dr. Jewell said.

Dr. Jewell is one of four gynecologic oncologists at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. The gynecologic oncologists work together with a multidisciplinary team of specialists at the cancer center to provide highly individualized and personalized patient care.

Confidence in her care team

As a result, patients like Nina start treatment sooner and have access to the most advanced technology, such as minimally invasive robotic surgery, which means less recovery time. Nina’s treatment involved Dr. Jewell performing a robotic radical hysterectomy.

Nina went home the day after her procedure, thanks to the less invasive robotic surgery. She didn’t need radiation or chemotherapy, but her follow-up care continues, as does the coordination among her cancer care team.

“When Dr. Jewell’s team says they’re referring me to another department, I can trust it’s going to happen. I always get the phone call. The coordination of care at the cancer center is phenomenal,” Nina said. She’s received infusion therapy, and visits the pelvic pain clinic to ease her postsurgery symptoms. She also sees Dr. Jewell for follow-up care every three months.

“I’m confident if something else were to arise, they would definitely be on it,” Nina said. “I’m able to enjoy life with my kids and just be in the moment. I am thankful God put me in the right place, in the right hands of providers who gave me everything I needed.”

As with all treatments, individual patient results vary. It is important to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider.