Suffern woman who survived breast and esophageal cancer says early detection is key

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, and a Rockland County woman is sharing the journey she went through after receiving her diagnosis in the hope of helping others.
Lisa Beckett, of Suffern, beat breast cancer a few years ago and then esophageal cancer in 2013.
“A lot of it was just determination and really the purpose of living, and knowing that there's more for me to do,” Beckett says. “Early detection and getting screened constantly, and just trying not to forget that.”
Doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital discovered that Beckett had esophageal cancer after she was treated for appendicitis. Initially, her symptoms didn't cause her much concern.
Now, Beckett says she’s able to look back and reflect on the signs.
"It's really about paying attention to your eating, your chewing, you're swallowing,” she says. “I was always a slow eater. Now I'm even slower."
Dr. Vipul Shah performed a minimally invasive procedure that removed the cancer in her esophagus in about an hour. He says the key to treating this disease is getting ahead of it.
“Staying on top of your health and going for your health maintenance check-ups, because both of these cancers were picked up early simply because she was proactive in her healthcare,” Shah says.
“This hospital is fabulous,” Beckett says. “They took care of me as a human being, not just the illness."
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be over 20,000 new cases of esophageal cancer diagnosed in the United States this year.