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June is National Cancer Survivors Month and One Survivor Shares How He Twice Beat Laryngeal Cancer

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June is National Cancer Survivors Month and One Survivor Shares How He Twice Beat Laryngeal Cancer

June is National Cancer Survivors Month, an opportunity to celebrate the strength and resiliency of the more than 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S. and life-saving advances in medicine.

Felice L. Loverso, Ph.D., is no stranger to cancer survivorship – he overcame bladder cancer just two years ago. So, last summer when Dr. Loverso felt pain in his throat, he knew something was wrong and immediately made an appointment to see his physician. His doctor ordered a biopsy,

which revealed that he had laryngeal cancer.

Laryngeal cancer is a disease where malignant cancer cells form in the tissue of the larynx in the throat. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 12,650 new cases of laryngeal cancer in 2024. About 1 in 200 men and 2 in 840 in women will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. If caught early, the five-year survival rate of laryngeal cancer is 80%.

The former chief executive officer of Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare for 27 years, Dr. Loverso looked to his network of colleagues and friends to find a qualified program to treat his cancer. With personal recommendations from Richard. E. Yochum, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) President/CEO, Bill McCollum, PVHMC Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Dr. Jose Rodriguez, neurosurgeon, his journey led him to The Robert & Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center at PVHMC.

“Learning that I had developed cancer again was an overwhelming experience,” said Dr. Loverso. “From the moment I arrived at the Cancer Care Center, everyone from the security personnel to the technicians, nurses and physicians were positive, compassionate and knowledgeable, which put me at ease,” adds Dr. Loverso. “It felt like I was in a warm, inviting and caring environment whenever I went.”

Dr. Loverso met with Dr. Sri Gorty, radiation oncologist, to develop a treatment plan. He went through 28 consecutive rounds of radiation therapy, which as one might imagine was a painful experience. There was a period when he could hardly swallow because of the pain from the treatment. Dr. Gorty came to his rescue.

“I was in pain from the treatment 24-hours-a-day,” he recalls. “Dr. Gorty prepared for me a special Lidocaine cocktail I could drink so I could swallow and start eating again.”

Today, Dr. Loverso is grateful to be cancer-free for a second time and he’s grateful to his treatment team at The Robert & Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center at PVHMC.

“Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center offers the same high tech cancer diagnostic equipment that you can find at the nation’s top health facilities and its staff are truly the best,” Dr. Loverso explains. “The way I felt after each treatment would have made it nearly impossible for me to spend two or three hours-a-day commuting to another hospital. I received the best cancer care available, in my own community, just 12 minutes from my home. To have this Center and really wonderful team in our community is a gift.”

The ringing of the bell at PVHMC is a ceremonial tradition that marks the end of a cancer patient’s treatment. It took time, courage and the support of the doctors, nurses and staff at PVHMC, but Loverso rang the bell. Today, he’s doing well and enjoying his retirement.

“Felice was the model patient, he noticed that something was wrong with his health, and he sought immediate care,” says Dr. Sri Gorty. “When a patient’s cancer is diagnosed early, it can mean that there are more treatment options, and the likelihood of survival is higher.”

If you have a family history of cancer or are due for a preventive screening, make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your options. Learn more about The Robert & Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center at