PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New Jersey State Senator Diane Allen, the former longtime Philadelphia TV anchor, has fought back from an aggressive cancer, and wants to get the word out for others to do likewise.

She recalls that life-altering diagnosis nearly a year and a half ago. “When you are first told that you have cancer your initial reaction is utter helplessness. You don’t know where to turn, what to do, or how to deal with it, because we haven’t talked about it enough.”

Diane Allen gave the keynote address before Penn Medicine physicians who took care of her, as well as patients and community supporters.

“Let’s talk about it, let’s deal with it, and most importantly, let’s take charge of it and get through it,” said Allen.

Dr. Kelly Malloy is an assistant professor of head and neck surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Malloy explains why this type of cancer is so difficult to detect.

“Most of these cancers present late in the game, because the symptoms are usually very subtle; therefore, we usually have to combine surgery, radiation therapy and sometimes chemotherapy to achieve a cure.”

During the conference, experts discussed the latest treatment, survivorship and research advances.

Reported By Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio.

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