Meet Mario Lucca

Read how family and friends helped Mario Lucca through his battle with liposarcoma.

What kind of sarcoma do you have? When were you diagnosed?

I was officially diagnosed when I was 37 years old, on May 4, 2012 with a high grade myxoid/round cell liposarcoma of my left lower extremity that measured about 6cm in its largest dimension.  Although, I was aware of a painless egg shaped lump in my upper left inner thigh for over a year, since April 11, 2011, I had no idea that I was in any danger.  As was the case with me, Liposarcoma commonly goes misdiagnosed for long periods before being identified.   

What makes you feel strong?  

My friends, my family, and particularly my late sister Jaclyn Tahboub.  My sister started something very special for me when I was going through treatment.  She created a support video and website for me and shaved her head.  There was fundraising and a benefit comedy event, it was surreal.  Her initial actions as a concerned little sister brought a lot of people together and created a lot of love through a tough time.  I don’t think anyone could have anticipated how amazing what she did would become.  Her actions helped me identify cancer as this giant vortex that affected me at my center, but inevitably pulled everyone on the outside into its center with me.   I found that fact to be saddening but yet a very beautiful aspect of the experience all at the same time.  I never had considered myself to be very special.  But, I was completely humbled by how fortunate I was  for all of the people that had been in my life, and that all of  them were still with me through it all.   It was November 2012 when this happened, and it gave me a Thanksgiving overflowing with things to be thankful for.  I was given my George Baily moment.  What she and my family and friends did for me, their unconditional love gave me the strength I needed to get through it all. 

What helps you the most?

I think this is a similar question to what makes me feel strong.  I would again say, the love and support of my family and friends.  

What is your job?

I am an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in Boston, MA.

What medical treatment worked?

My first surgical excision was the point at which I had no evidence of disease (NED).  But my long term treatment strategy required 25 treatments of radiation to my left thigh as well as 5 cycles of chemotherapy with Adriamycin, Ifosfamide and Mesna (AIM).  Probably the most critical aspect of my medical treatment was where I had my treatment, at the Dana Farber Cancer Center’s Sarcoma and Bone Oncology Center and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  It was being cared for in a place well experienced and competent with sarcoma treatment, where the doctors, nurses, staff, personnel, absolutely everyone, were committed to personalized care and compassion for patients that made the difference, in my opinion. 

How long have you been cancer free?

I have had no evidence of disease (NED) for 33 months.  I pray each day to continue staying better.  I pray each day to be allowed the gift of a long and healthy life, and I hope for the strength to be able to make it count.