Toughness. A powerful element in fighting cancer.



Lara Stachow loves a challenge. She chose a military career and a civilian career to challenge her both physically and mentally. And when she was diagnosed with a Stage 3 tumor in her breast, it turns out she was up for a medical challenge, too.

Her mentality helped her excel in a military career both in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy Reserves. It has helped her in a demanding career at UPS, where she is a driver on a management track. It’s that same mentality that helped her confront her cancer with a tactical approach and a fighting spirit.

When Lara found a lump in her left breast, there was no time to spare. Lara’s mom worked in health care, and her network quickly recommended that Lara get in to see Florida Cancer Specialists. A dogged determination and a high tolerance for hardship are nice to have when you receive a cancer diagnosis, but Lara needed the right team and a scientific approach, too.

Lara Stachow If she had waited another week, she might not have made it. Her primary care physician knew to send her to a physician at Florida Cancer Specialists and FCS knew how to save her life.

Her Stage 3 tumor was the size of a golf ball, and to beat it, she needed surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and the strength of a soldier. Her FCS physician expressed sincere concern when he told her that she would need nine rounds of chemo. He knew that would be a lot for her to take.

“Have you ever had a patient who was a soldier?” Lara asked her doctor. “No? Well, you’ll see a soldier can handle anything.”

Throughout her treatment, Lara continued to work for UPS and serve her country, and she passed every single Navy Physical Readiness Test along the way. When the higher-ups in her Navy command found out after her treatment, they were stunned that she kept her physical readiness up the whole time, so they gave her a new job: Command Fitness Leader for the entire battalion.

Lara is tough enough to handle anything – just ask those Navy reservists she trained in command fitness for four years. Beating breast cancer took more than toughness, though. It took physicians who understood Lara and a support staff that invested in her care.

“The team at Florida Cancer Specialists is incredible. They are an amazing support system.”

Back to all stories