How Cynthia Overcame Breast Cancer with her Team at Beebe

"Together Strong." 

These words easily describe how Millville resident and Delaware native Cynthia Gooch Copley was able to overcome her diagnosis of breast cancer and still keep the core of who she is intact.

Watch Cynthia's video to hear her story - in her own words.


Just a Spider Bite Turned Out to be Cancer

It was 2017, when Cynthia Gooch Copley noticed a red spot on her breast. “I thought I had been bitten by a spider, so I put some cortisone cream on it and figured it would go away,” she recalls.

The spot did not go away and it worsened, so Cynthia decided to show it to her doctor. She was then referred to Beebe general surgeon Dr. Erik Stancofski.

“I thought it was just this bite, but the next thing I knew I was having a biopsy,” Cynthia recalls.

She was told it was cancer.

What Does a Cancerous Breast Lump Feel Like?

“I told myself that it was no big deal … that I could handle this,” she said. “But, then, I was handed a paper to take with me to my first appointment at Tunnell Cancer Center. Seeing the word cancer written, it just broke me. I arrived to the cancer center and I could not get out of the car. I was frozen in shock.”

Another person arriving for an appointment told the front desk staff at Tunnell that there was a woman half out of her car in the parking lot who seemed to need help. A group of Tunnell volunteers went out to help.

“When those volunteers came over, I just looked at them,” she recalls. “I broke down in tears and they helped get me out of the car and get me into the cancer center.”

When she met with her medical oncologist she recalls sitting there and crying for about 40 minutes.

“They just let me cry,” she said. “They held me and reassured me. They let me be me … even though it wasn’t who I was before I was diagnosed.”


A Path Forward

Cynthia did six months of intensive chemotherapy. She lost her hair, her skin and fingernails changed, yet she kept her positive spirit.

“You don’t want it to be happening to you. You don’t want to go to treatment. But, then you get to Tunnell Cancer Center and they are there waiting with open arms,” Cynthia said. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through all of this without them. Even on your worst day, they warm you up.”

Cynthia credits her medical care team and the many volunteers at Beebe's Tunnell Cancer Center with her progress and her ability to keep smiling through it all.

Cynthia and her new husband, Eric West who met Cynthia when he was chairman of the 38th Democratic District, enjoy time at home where Cynthia dances with their dog, Theodore Roosevelt.

“Throughout it all, Cynthia has remained a vibrant, dynamic woman and it is truly a testament to the great team at Beebe and Tunnell Cancer Center,” Eric said.

Beebe Healthcare is thoughtfully investing in expanding our presence in Sussex County—making excellent, innovative, and accessible care a reality for our friends, families, and neighbors for future generations.

Beebe’s South Coastal Health Campus on Route 17 near Millville will feature a year-round freestanding emergency department and a second location for the award-winning cancer center. Learn more about these exciting plans:

Meet the Oncology Services Team.

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