Published on March 31, 2021

Diana Rhoads: Grandmother, Mother, Wife, Banker, and Colon Cancer Survivor 

Diana Rhoads wears many titles: grandmother, mother, wife, and banker (46 years and counting!). There’s one special title she also carries: cancer survivor. Diana is one of the few men and women who are able to say they recovered from colon cancer. On the last day of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, we are grateful to be able to share her story of recovery.

Diana, Assistant Branch Manager at Arvest Bank in West Plains, was working a typical day at the bank when she suddenly became extremely ill one afternoon.

“It was May 11, 2018,” Diana said. “I don’t typically remember dates, but I do remember that one.”

After she was rushed to Ozarks Healthcare’s Emergency Department, Diana underwent several tests that revealed irregular blood counts. A colonoscopy was on the list of tests to be performed, which showed the source of the mystery illness that threatened Diana’s life.

“That’s when they found the tumor,” she said.

Thankfully, the tumor was contained in Diana’s lymph glands enough for surgical removal. Dr. Magdy Giurgius, general and bariatric surgeon at Ozarks Healthcare, performed the surgery. After her procedure, she became a patient at Ozarks Healthcare’s Cancer Treatment Center for follow-up care as a precaution. Diana speaks about Dr. Barjinder Singh, her oncologist at Ozarks Healthcare’s Cancer Treatment Center, with the same grandmotherly enthusiasm that she shows while talking about her grandkids.

“I just love him to death,” she said. “He is such a sweetheart. He recommended we do cancer treatments as a precaution. It was such a timesaver to be able to receive the care I needed here.”

Diana received treatments while continuing her busy lifestyle at the same time, working around her schedule at the bank.

“Typically, I would get a treatment Thursday afternoon so I could work mornings” she said. “The next day, I went back to work.”

Today, Diana is cancer-free. She receives regular blood tests and tests to make sure she is healthy. If you ask her the one lesson she hopes others will take away from her story, she will tell you it’s to schedule a colonoscopy, not just for yourself, but for your loved ones.

“I didn’t have symptoms,” Dianna said. “Getting screened is not something that’s pleasant, but it’s important. It’s something you should do not only for yourself, but for your family. I have grandkids. I want to see them grow up, get married, and have their own kids. If I’m not healthy or not here, I can’t do that.”

Diana continues to work in banking, serve her community by cooking meals for her church’s youth group, and spend time with her three grandchildren. We are thankful for Diana’s story. We are even more grateful she is back to doing what she loves best!

Ozarks Healthcare is a system of care encompassing eight primary care and 17 specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home health services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire health system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare, visit www.OzarksHealthcare.com.

Diana Rhoads

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