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Ken Jeong’s breast cancer cautionary tale at Go Pink in Boca

He never takes anti-depressants. But when doctors discovered his wife had aggressive breast cancer, Dr. Ken Jeong was at a loss.

He had just quit his medical job to take a flyer on show biz. “I thought I had made the worse mistake of my life,” Jeong told 1,400 at the Go Pink Luncheon, Boca’s biggest fundraiser.

Now he had a sick wife and twin baby daughters to care for with no steady income. “I wanted to be strong for my family,” he said.

The Jeongs are both doctors, but they ignored a lump when Tran was breast-feeding. Five months later, “it got bigger,” Jeong said. The diagnosis: triple negative breast cancer spread to the muscle. The five-year survival rate was 23%.

“But the first dose of chemo was a medical miracle and stopped it in its tracks,” Jeong said.

On Wednesday, Dr. Tran Jeong had her annual oncology checkup. This is her 11th year in remission, he said proudly.

“If you’re a patient, especially if you suspect something’s wrong, go with your gut,” he said. “It’s OK to have second or third opinions.”

Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation’s 16th luncheon surpassed fund-raising goals of $1 million, founder and chair Patti Carpenter announced. “This has made a huge impact in our fight against breast cancer,” she said.

In her annual update on new treatments, Dr. Louise Morrell introduced members of the treatment team when cancer is diagnosed.

“We have three goals: Get it out. Make sure it doesn’t spread. Make sure it doesn’t come back,” she said.

Boca Regional’s new affiliation with Baptist Health South Florida includes Miami Cancer Institute, Morrell noted.

Two young women survivors were introduced with videos. Mark Larkin, foundation president, called them to the stage for a standing ovation.

A text fundraiser for a new cancer support program netted more than $17,000 from the crowd by the end of the luncheon.

By Marci Shatzman

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