Wendy Noren takes leave of absence for cancer treatment

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 | 6:33 p.m. CST; updated 8:10 a.m. CST, Thursday, November 21, 2013

COLUMBIA — Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren is taking a leave of absence to undergo cancer treatment. 

County elected officials and department heads were notified via email on Thursday that after being tested for colorectal cancer during the last week of October, Noren, 59, has been diagnosed with a condition called nonmetastatic squamous cell carcinoma.

According to the Mayo Clinic, squamous cell carcinoma is a common type of skin cancer that is usually not life-threatening. Because it is nonmetastatic, it has not spread from its original site, according to the National Cancer Institute.

"Although rarer than colorectal cancer, this is in a class of cancers considered curable for many people rather than merely controllable or treatable," Noren said in the email. 

The 31-year county clerk said she will receive daily treatments of both chemotherapy and radiation therapy for the next six to eight weeks. She will be treated at Boone Hospital Center and Missouri Cancer Associates. After the treatments, Noren said she will be monitored to ensure that further surgical procedures will not be necessary. 

"Fortunately this is a very quiet time for my office, and my outstanding staff can perform all of the day-to-day duties coming up without my presence," Noren wrote.

Boone County District II Commissioner Janet Thompson said Noren is a clerk who is at the forefront of developing election processes and is often called upon by people in both the state and nation for advice and guidance as they develop election systems.

"Her staff is among the best in the country," Thompson said. "We are blessed as a community to have had Wendy's knowledge for so long."

Noren said in the email that she has focused her attention on keeping a light, low-stress attitude and continuing to laugh as much as possible. 

"I truly believe laughter is a surest way to improve my immune system," she wrote. "So rather than expressions of concern, I am taking recommendations on funny books, movies or stories to get me through the worst of this treatment."

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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