Saint Louis University

Educator Ruth Brimmer has learned a lot since she was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. Early that year, Ruth initially showed signs of what appeared to be strep throat. Unfortunately, her symptoms persisted and her voice began to deepen and change.

She was sent to Mark Varvares, M.D., a SLUCare otolaryngologist and director of the Saint Louis University Cancer Center. After a thorough examination, Dr.Varvares diagnosed Ruth with stage IV laryngeal cell carcinoma. 

Using an individualized approach, Dr.Varvares presented Ruth with options on how to handle her cancer. She could receive surgery to remove the cancer from her larynx or she could undergo radiation. Ruth opted to receive radiation, even though there was a possibility she would have difficulty eating.

Although Ruth had challenges during the treatment, she persisted. Ruth has returned to teaching her special education class, where she interacts closely with the instructors and students. The support she received from her coworkers, family and friends helped provide strength throughout her treatment. She finished the treatment in late October 2003 and continues to be cancer-free.

To make an appointment with a Cancer Center physician, please call (314) 977-4440 or toll-free, (866)977-4440.