Personalized triple-negative breast cancer treatment made me feel special
I didn’t have any breast cancer symptoms until early 2019. Then, a lump the size of a lime popped up on my right breast, seemingly overnight. I hadn’t been able to feel it before that because it was growing so deep below the surface.
I went to my OB/GYN the day after I discovered it. She immediately referred me to a breast surgeon, who ordered an ultrasound. A few days later, I had a biopsy, and the following week, I received my diagnosis: triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma, a type of breast cancer.
Coming to MD Anderson for breast cancer treatment
I grew up in the Houston area, so once I was sure I had breast cancer, I was pretty determined to go to MD Anderson for my treatment. I knew it offered the best cancer care in the world, so to me, there wasn’t really another choice.
First, they confirmed my diagnosis. Then, they laid out my treatment options, which included a Phase II clinical trial under Dr. Jennifer Litton. It involved a new drug, a type of targeted therapy that includes a PARP inhibitor.
The best part of MD Anderson: having a choice
My doctors recommended the clinical trial, but they also made it clear that the decision was mine. I really liked that they gave me a choice.
The first place I went was like, “This is your diagnosis and this is your treatment plan. You start next week.” But at MD Anderson, my doctors said, “OK. We can do this or this or this for you, but you get to choose.”
When you have cancer, it can feel like you have no control of your life anymore. So, this gave me a little bit of that control back. And I really appreciated it.
The best part of individualized treatment: feeling like I really mattered
I also appreciated how personalized my treatment was. Before coming to MD Anderson, I didn’t realize there were so many different types of cancer. I also didn’t know there were so many treatment options available.
I have a friend who received the exact same diagnosis as I did. She has the same type of cancer and joined the same clinical trial. But we still have different treatment plans. I think that’s pretty amazing.
I ended up joining the clinical trial, too. And I’m cancer-free today as a result. But it was comforting to know that I had other options, and could have chosen a different treatment option if I’d wanted to.
The way MD Anderson personalizes treatment made me feel like my case was special and that I really mattered. In the end, that’s all you can ask from anyone.