Treatment For Kidney And Skin Cancer - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Treatment For Kidney And Skin Cancer

One East Texas woman has beat the odds against kidney cancer. A treatment, new to East Texas, called Interleukin-2 looks promising for people who have kidney cancer or melanoma.

Susan Griffis of Athens was diagnosed with progressive renal cell cancer-- also known as kidney cancer, in July of 2004. "The urologist said was it didn't look good, it was stage 4 renal cell cancer. It had spread to both lungs, my liver and lymph nods," says Susan.

Doctors told Susan she had only 3 months to live and was referred to oncologist, Dr. Gary Gross. Dr. Gross wanted Susan to try a new treatment called, IL-2 which uses a protein called interluken-2. A drug that is injected into the body.

"The drug stimulates the body's own immune system. The body's own defense against cancer and the drug goes in and find the cancer cells and kill them out. It doesn't work for everybody but if it really works it's going to give you a quality of life," says Dr. Gross.

Dr. Gross told Susan she had a 1 in 5 chance of the treatment working. "One in five chances is better than no chances at all," says Susan. It was a chance Susan wanted to take and go forward with the treatment.

"It requires about a week in the hospital. Repeated at least twice sometimes three or four times. The treatment has all kind of side effects: low blood pressure, you stop producing urine, patients can become confused, they stop eating and get nausea. It's has a long list of side affects, but the nurses and doctors are ready for it," says Dr. Gross.

Susan says she did endure side effects like nausea and weight gain. However after only two, one week treatments a CAT scan revealed that Susan was cancer free. "It wasn't a terrible thing to go through, it wasn't pleasant of course, but it was definitely worth taking a chance like that," says Susan.

Taking the chance that gave Susan a cancer free life. She has been cancer free for one year. Her and her family call it a medical miracle. The Blood and Cancer Center of East Texas is one of approximately 60 centers nationwide that offer the treatment.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.


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