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Joyce Walmer’s father had thyroid cancer. So did her uncle. Her sister endured three surgeries to remove tumors from her thyroid and adrenal glands. Joyce herself had surgery twice for the same reason, performed by UW Hospital and Clinics surgeon Herbert Chen, MD, who was now telling her that her children – 8-year-old Kiara, 4-year-old Robert and 2-year-old Lilianna – would be in for the same, if no action were taken.

“I expected one to carry it,” Walmer said. “But you never expect that you have three kids and all three have it.”

Soon after genetic test results indicated that the children carried the gene, Joyce was referred to Dr. Chen, professor of surgery at UW-Madison and specialist in endocrine surgeries. Dr. Chen told Joyce about prophylactic surgery, in essence a preemptive procedure that can all but eliminate the risk of cancer by removing the organ where the disease would have developed.

With one surgery, Kiara, Robert and Lilliana are now rid of the disease and family is free from worry.

To read the full story in the WI State Journal, please click here.

To learn more about Dr. Chen and the Endocrine Surgery Program at the Univeristy of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, please click here. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System