Kimberlee Smith

Do the Research; Advocate for Yourself

Kimberlee was in disbelief when the doctor told her she had breast cancer. “It was a shock to the system,” she said. She is the only one in her family to have been diagnosed with this disease. Kimberlee wanted answers to the question of why, but when doctors were unable to give her answers, she began her own research. After countless hours of studying her diagnosis, Kimberlee concluded that proton therapy was the best treatment for her condition.

The goal during Kimberlee’s treatment was to protect surrounding healthy tissues and organs such as the heart and lungs from unnecessary radiation. Protons have a unique capability of being able to stop inside the cancerous tumor, minimizing radiation to surrounding areas. Her battle wasn’t easy. At first, her insurance declined her treatment. Kimberlee knew what was best for her health and decided that not even the health insurance company would stop her from getting the best treatment available. She reached out to the financial experts at the Oklahoma Proton Center. They appealed her case and were able to obtain a positive result. Kimberlee’s insurance paid for her proton therapy.

Kimberlee realized that she was having a better reaction than her friends that opted for traditional radiation therapy. Her skin had a minimal reaction. She was able to continue with her lifestyle during and after her treatment. She also appreciated being treated with respect by the whole staff at the Oklahoma Proton Center and was impressed by Dr. Chang’s commitment to his patients. She recalls him answering all of her questions, regardless of how many or how frequent they were.

Now Kimberlee is an advocate for proton therapy and hopes to help people make the right choices by sharing her story. Her advice for people diagnosed with cancer; take a minute and breath. Do not go with the first recommendation. Instead, research and ask as many questions as you can. Most importantly, she wants everyone to become their advocate and remind them that they are the ones who should make the choices about their health.  

Watch more of Kimberlee’s story below.

Do the Research; Advocate for Yourself
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