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Breast cancer strikes Kentucky couple twice

By Julie Rosenbaum-Engelhardt - Evansville Courier & Press
November 30, 2011

Because October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wasn't looking to write any more articles about the disease so soon. However, I found out about a husband and wife who both have had the disease and the fantastic doctor who treated them.

Jim Price was diagnosed in 2005, and his wife Susan was diagnosed in July. The couple has gone through so much. As well as breast cancer, Jim was also diagnosed with kidney cancer. The devotion and love that this Morganfield, Ky., couple share is too strong to let the disease beat them.

Jim was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer after having noticed a small knot on his breast, which he said was the size of a "pimple." He was treated by doctor Rick Ballou of The Evansville Cancer Center.

I have heard the words caring and understanding about this man from more than one source. Ballou, an oncologist, knows all too well about these tribulations because he was diagnosed with kidney cancer five years ago.

"Although after treating cancer patients for over 18 years I was keenly aware of the emotional and physical suffering by the family, there is nothing like going home and telling your own family that you have cancer and your life may be limited," Ballou said. "It brings to me the forefront of both the emotional and financial issues that can be extremely frightening."

Ballou said that about one of every 1,000 breast cancer cases are men. It is one in eight for women. However, men have to take seriously any change in their breasts.

Earlier this year, when Jim was deemed nearly cancer-free, Susan was then diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. She said that she was shocked and terrified because "You really don't know how bad it is."

After Dr. Ballou educated her about her type of breast cancer, she underwent a double mastectomy and was able to avoid chemotherapy and radiation. Susan takes tamoxifen, and her prognosis is excellent.

This is an unusual story because of the love and connection of this couple.

"Jim has provided me so much support, and I think without his experience, this would have been a much harder road to travel," his wife said.

Cancer is not a subject I enjoy writing about. I am like many other women and am so afraid of this disease. People like Susan and Jim Price and doctors like Rick Ballou help us understand that in this day and age that cancer and dying don't have to go together.

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