Carol M Cancer Treatment with Positive Outcome - Carol's Story

Both Drs. Easaw and Boyan have treated me with such kindness and respect throughout this journey...

Prioritizing Patients

Medical Experts Confer on Cancer Treatment with Positive Outcomes

Carol Murray is a lifelong resident of Lakewood, and she always considered herself healthy. She was a distance cyclist and consistently practiced healthy habits. That’s why Carol was surprised after she received the news of a cancer diagnosis; not only did she have stage IV lung cancer, but also cancer of the colon. “I went to a walk-in urgent care center with shortness-of-breath and fatigue,” explains Carol. “I thought it was residual effects from having COVID-19 a few months earlier.” The urgent care suspected pleural effusion – the filling of the lungs with fluid, and told Carol to seek hospital care immediately.

Carol came directly to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus Emergency Department (MMCSC), where multiple tests were taken and she was admitted. During Carol’s three day stay at MMCSC, Sarah Easaw, M.D., medical oncologist and member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group, was referred to Carol for a consult. Dr. Easaw reviewed all of Carol’s radiology tests, including a PET scan, which were all done at Monmouth South. “A PET Scan is a very precise tool to both diagnose and stage cancer,” adds Dr. Easaw. “The PET scan determined that Carol had tumors both in the colon as well as stage IV lung cancer. It is very important, in cancer diagnosis and treatment, for us to focus on the unique individual,” explains Dr. Easaw. “We needed to tailor a plan of treatment, specific to Carol.”

Together with Carol, Dr. Easaw decided to prioritize treatment of the tumor in the colon and consulted with William Boyan, M.D., HPB and general surgeon, and also a member of the RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. “After seeing the results from the CT Colonography, a 3D image of the large bowel, or colon, we knew that it was important to remove the lesion in the right side of Carol’s colon, before it metastisized. Afterward, treatment for her lungs could continue.”

Carol MurrayCarol’s surgery was performed at MMCSC laparoscopically with 4 small incisions to remove the right colon and lymph nodes. “We have to weigh the risk/benefit factor in all of our patients, explains Dr. Boyan. “In Carol’s case, all of the removed lymph nodes were negative and after a bit of recovery, we were able to send her home, so she could prepare for a treatment plan with Dr. Easaw.”

Treatment in the past for advanced lung cancer was mainly chemotherapy. Now, due to advances in research, a subset of patients are able to be treated with ‘Targeted therapy,’ using medicines that target certain mutations on the surface of cancer cells. “Carol has one such mutation, namely EGFR mutation,” explains Dr. Easaw. “I started her on Tagrisso (Osimertinib), a pill that she takes daily, and has minimal side effects compared to chemotherapy. This pill targets the EGFR mutation in the cancer cells and helps to control the growth of cancer.”

Dr. Easaw noted that Carol is doing well with this treatment and is happy that she is able to breathe normally and do normal activities while undergoing treatment.

“Both Drs. Easaw and Boyan have treated me with such kindness and respect throughout this journey, as well as every person I came in contact with at Monmouth Medical Center Southern campus,” explains Carol. “It’s amazing to know that I could receive such expert care in Lakewood, where the comfort and convenience of being close to home, eases so much of the stress that a cancer battle can cause. I also try to keep a positive outlook and rely on God.”

Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus works in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the State’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, to provide access to the latest research and clinical trials. Additionally, Richard S. Lazzaro, MD, FACS, a groundbreaking minimally invasive thoracic surgeon who built a New York City hospital program with the top 10 outcomes in lung cancer for 12 consecutive years, has brought that unparalleled expertise to MMCSC. Chief of Thoracic Surgery for the RWJBarnbas Health Southern Region, which in addition to MMCSC includes Monmouth Medical Center, Community Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), RWJUH Hamilton, and RWJUH Somerset, leads the Regional Lung Cancer Program in collaboration with colleagues at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

To learn more, visit or call 844-CANCERNJ.