As a hardworking professional dancer, Rulan Tangen was in "total disbelief that my body — which was my finely tuned instrument — could possibly have cancer."
Even harder to accept was that the treatment could impact her face, so Rulan researched and interviewed surgeons at institutions that performed the procedure. "I basically used the same priorities that I used for selecting a successful dance: commitment to the highest standards of excellence, aesthetic as well as functional excellence, outcome of total health and well-being, attention to detail and cutting edge innovations in the field — with all of these rooted in the qualities of humanity and kindness."
Rulan’s diligent search led to choosing Dr. Peter Costantino and the staff at the New York Head and Neck Institute. "Dr. Costantino listened to my concerns — attentively, with compassion — and I felt that I was heard as an individual rather than a statistic. My concerns (such as possibly having half of my hair shaved off) were regarded as serious to him and his staff as they are to a performing artist."
It’s been a decade since Rulan’s first consultation at the staff at the New York Head and Neck Institute, and Dr. Costantino and his staff have become like a family to her. "Today I’m a healthy and vibrant choreographer, dancer, teacher, lecturer and director of my own award-winning dance ensemble, ‘Dancing Earth,’" she says. "A heartfelt thanks to Dr. Costantino and his staff and team for their expertise and care. They helped me through these health challenges and cheered me on through my achievements and joys in life."