Nancy Novack

Birth Year 1943
Gender Female
Country United States
Please summarize your healing story in 100 words or less On the evening of my first meeting with my oncologist, he said to me, "This is a challenging diagnosis. The prognosis is bleak. But I do believe I can help you. I am with you." Those four words sustained me whenever I was in fear. They directed my understanding of the power of relationship in my healing process. I was able to open my heart and receive the love and generosity of family and friends and oftentimes strangers who were there to hold my hand and my heart.
Last Updated December 16, 2016

Health Challenge

What is/was your primary health challenge?


Type of cancer


Can you be more specific?

Stage 4 metastatsized to my liver

Highest stage of cancer


Year diagnosed


Current health status

No evidence of disease

Year you healed or became stable


Type of Healing

I used conventional and non-conventional treatments at the same time to overcome my challenge.

How was your health challenge diagnosed?

Biopsy or Pathology Report, Imaging (CT, PET, MRI, Mammogram, X-ray, etc), Blood Testing


Check any conventional treatments you've tried for your health challenge:

Chemotherapy, Surgery

Check any of the 9 Radical Remission factors you've tried:

Diet Change, Herbs & Supplements, Increasing Positive Emotions, Releasing Suppressed Emotions, Following Your Intuition, Deepening Your Spiritual Connection, Increasing Social Support, Finding Strong Reasons for Living, Taking Control of Your Health

Check any other alternative treatments you've tried:

Energy Healing (e.g., acupuncture, reiki, kinesiology, etc), Exercise, Massage, Psychotherapy


Briefly describe your diagnosis method and conventional treatments, including their timing. Did they help at all?

I had a pelvic examination and then a CT scan and probably blood work.

I received 15 aggressive chemotherapies with Taxol and Carboplatin.

I then had a laporoscopy to remove my ovaries and tubes. At the same time, they did 9 biopsies of my liver, which was then clear of cancer.

I had 6 more sessions with Doxil.

I did 6 more chemo sessions with Doxil.

Please tell us your healing story in as much detail as you would like:

I thought I had appendicitis. I was having pain in the right side of my belly that didn’t seem to go away. I was bloated. I went to my internist who examined me and immediately sent me for an emergency CT scan. The good doctor said, “The good news is that it is not appendicitis. The bad news is that you have stage 4 ovarian cancer which has filled your liver.” I was too happily innocent about the cancer world and I said two now-remarkable things: “Thank goodness it is not appendicitis,” and “What is stage V?”

I had no idea what any of that meant, despite living on this planet, mostly in northern California, for sixty years. I didn’t know anything about cancer treatment, the statistics, what was ahead of me.

I was treated at Stanford. The typical MO for ovarian is a major de-bulking (a hysterectomy X 10). My brilliant oncologist said to the surgery teammates, who were sharpening their scalpels, that I was too sick to do that procedure.

We began aggressive chemotherapy immediately … as much as my body could handle. I truly believe that decision saved my life.

I have not had a recurrence in 16 years. I have not had any form of cancer in that time. I have not changed my lifestyle or engaged in any treatments. I do eat well, exercise, and have immense gratitude for every day.

I am often asked about my understanding of my healing process such as “Did you sit under a lotus tree in Tanzania?” “What secret therapies did you try?” I think there are other explanations that encouraged my healing.

I was blessed with a magnificent A Team. These dear friends held my hand and my heart throughout the challenging journey. And I was blessed with cards and letters from sweet family and friends, who came from my kindergarten classes to now, and from many people I never had the honor of knowing before my diagnosis.

Trust and transformation. I totally trusted my oncologist and the support staff at Stanford. I followed their instructions. My doctor said to me, “Yours is a very bleak diagnosis. It will be a rocky road. But hang in there. I think I can help you. I am with you.” Our relationship, his courage, caring, intelligence, and unwavering commitment to get me well from that very first night transformed my experience of trust. His support and understanding and commitment to my life made me realize my dream of getting well. My oncologist laid the foundation within my spirit for true trust: an opening of my heart to the amazing generosity of strangers, to the compassion and sensitivity of the chemo infusion teams, to other patients, and to the beauty of my friends and loved ones.

When people ask, and they often do, "What happened? How did you make it when so many others do not survive stage 4 ovarian cancer?" I don’t have any answers to that mystery. I do know, for certain, that the opening of my heart, the receiving of the blessings and the love, the sense of abundance of good will coming my way changed my being — during my cancer and forever more.

I am the luckiest lady in the world. I truly enjoy defying medical statistics and being the poster child for Stanford’s Cancer Center.

I made a vow to make a difference for people living with cancer, for those who love and care for them, and for the children who have a cancer diagnosis or love someone who has. My simple and profound wish is that no one will ever go through cancer alone. I started Nancy’s List to help my community cope with the epidemic of cancer.

For me, cancer changed everything. It generated my growth. It taught me the essence of gratitude. I adore the generosity of strangers. It defined my calling and refined my purpose as a psychologist. It gave me the opportunity to offer hope to those who have lost theirs. I found my courage and resilience.


EDITOR'S NOTE: As of October 2020 Nancy is well and thriving post-diagnosis.

I have not had a relapse or any related diagnosis in 16 years. I have not changed my lifestyle ... just healthy food, exercise, open heart.

I was actually 60 when I was diagnosed 16 years ago.

Click here for a recent statement about my life to read more:

Do you have any thoughts about what may have caused your health challenge in particular, or what causes it in general?

I don't know but I am very curious. My sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year. Neither of us has the BRCA mutation or any other mutation that explains this. And we have gone through a ton of genetic testing. Two of my maternal aunts had breast cancer. One very interesting piece of my story is that I am a plaintiff in a huge lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. There is evidence that the talc in their baby powder is carcinogenic. These reports are many decades old and J&J has never changed their formula. There are nearly 12,000 women in this lawsuit who also were treated with baby powder as small children and who continued to use it in their teen and early adulthood and who have or had ovarian cancer.


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