Human Cancer Magnet
Rare genetic condition makes Florida woman extremely vulnerable to cancers.
Most cancer patients remember the first time they are told they have been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease.
Lainie Schultz has had that moment four times and she is only 27-years old.
It started when she was a baby.
“At 18 months old, I had adrenal carcinoma in my left adrenal gland. At 24, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. At 25, I was diagnosed with melanoma. At 26-years old I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer,” the Fort Lauderdale resident rattles off.
Then a month before her 27th birthday, Schultz found out her breast cancer had spread.
While she allows herself one day to cry, she has smiled through chemo, surgery and all her treatments.
“I'm not scared of it. I know if I catch it early, it will be cured,” Schultz said.
Her oncologist is Dr. Nicholas Tranakas, medical director of Cancer Services at Broward Health, said “essentially we watch her like a hawk.”
That's because Schultz has Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, a rare disorder that makes a person more susceptible to cancer.
There are only a few hundred documented cases in the U.S.
The defect can be inherited or it can happen spontaneously, as it did in Schultz’s case.
Still, it hasn't stopped Lainie from enjoying her life.
She blogs about her disorder and recently got engaged.
She is set to get married March 3, 2012.
“The highest peak of my syndrome they say is between 20s and 30s. So I’m hoping for my 30th birthday present I won't have to deal with it again,” Schultz said. “But the reality is it could happen again.”