She was selected to receive chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial.
In April 2006, Nancy noticed that her right nipple was starting to pull in on one side. Because she worked for a local cancer organization, she knew that could be a sign of cancer, but thought it might also be due to her age; she was 55 at the time. Then, she started feeling a lump behind the nipple. In June, she saw her OB/GYN for a clinical breast exam, and had a diagnostic mammogram, as well as a core biopsy. The results showed that all the tissue samples were cancerous.
As soon as she received her biopsy results, Nancy e-mailed a breast surgeon on the board of directors of the cancer agency where she worked. He saw her in his office that afternoon. "I had barely processed my diagnosis, and I was already on the fast track to treatment," Nancy said.
“The Oncotype DX test gave me the information to come to terms with undergoing chemotherapy and be at peace with my decision.”
In July 2006, Nancy had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Her oncologist informed Nancy about the TAILORx clinical trial and about the Oncotype DX Breast Cancer Assay. Nancy decided to enroll in the trial. Her Recurrence Score result was an 18 — within the range that patients enrolled in TAILORx are randomized to receive either chemotherapy plus hormone therapy or hormone therapy alone.
She was selected to receive chemotherapy as part of the TAILORx trial. She received four chemotherapy treatments and is taking a five-year course of hormone therapy. Although her cancer has not recurred, the hormone therapy is affecting Nancy's bones; her bone density is decreasing, and she has more joint pain.
Now 58, Nancy said "the Oncotype DX test gave me the information to come to terms with undergoing chemotherapy and be at peace with my decision. I was more scared of chemo than the mastectomy, but with the results of the Oncotype DX test, it was easier to decide what I needed to do." Although she understands that some people might see participating in a clinical trial as being a guinea pig, it has been an absolutely great experience for her. "I'm so glad to participate in these trials, not only for my own benefit, but also to provide information that can help other women in the future. I would strongly encourage other women to look into clinical trials as well as take advantage of the Oncotype DX test" she said.
A longtime pet lover with five cats, Nancy now works for her local Humane Society. She stays busy with her family, volunteer activities, and has participated in a second clinical trial.
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