New Care For Breast Cancer Patients - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/19/05- Tyler

New Care For Breast Cancer Patients

East Texas doctors have found a treatment typically used in advanced stages of breast cancer, can now be used much earlier. The treatment is called TC. One of the clinical trials was in Tyler.

One East Texan doctor says this will be the new standard of care for fighting early stages of breast cancer. Dr. S.J. Vukelja says, "We are finally cashing in on the labor for years and years of research. I remember telling patients they could get standard treatment or what might be the new standard treatment and they were willing to take that chance."

A chance that Mary Ann Exum decided to take. Mary Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 and was one of 1,000 patients nationwide to participate in the clinical trial. Eighty one East Texans in all took part.

Mary Ann says, "I wanted the best treatment and I wanted to do everything that was out there to fight this and beat it. This was just one more step that I was taking beyond the normal treatments."

TC is often used for advanced stages of breast cancer, but now is being used for earlier stages when cancer is confined to the breast only or breast and lymph nods.

After 6 months of getting this treatment, Mary Ann went into remission. "When your doctor orders the test it scares you to death. Then you are waiting for the test results and everything is fine you're excited you are very happy, it's worked," says Mary Ann.

Dr. Vukelja says the treatment is going to replace the prior standard treatment used for the last 33 years. "TC not only less toxic and less side effects, spares your heart and decrease reoccurrence rates. There is less reoccurrence of the cancer and it seems like the patients are living longer. Not just happy to survive breast cancer but to look good, feel good and live long life's and a good quality of life," says Dr. Vukelja.

Mary Ann, now cancer-free for seven years, says thanks to TC. She and many other East Texans can look forward to a worry-free life.

Dr. Vukelja says she has not seen any recurrences of cancer in her East Texas patients that participated in the clinical trial. The research began eight years ago and doctors presented the results to an international audience just last week.

Karolyn Davis, reporting. kdavis@kltv.com

 

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