New guidelines help provide cancer patients with most up-to-date treatment options
By Andrew Doud
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Newly developed guidelines for cancer treatment are helping deliver top-of-the-line level of care for patients in North and South Carolina, and they were developed by doctors in Charlotte.
The system means patients have access to the most up-to-date treatment options available.
It helped one college student beat the disease while she continued her education.
"I'm a senior at Queens University, and I'm student teaching this semester at Myers Park Traditional," said Lauren Carter.
Carter is a cheerleader, sorority sister and, for the past five months, a cancer patient.
"I have stage 2-A Hodgkin's Lymphoma,” she said.
Carter said symptoms began around Labor Day.
"I had a lymph node grow to the size of a tennis ball within three hours," she said.
Carter said she ran, ate right and worked out, so at first, she wondered how and why it happened. But questions gave way to treatment -- eight sessions of chemo every other Friday for 16 weeks.
"I kind of tried to go through it with a positive mindset and I think, at least for me, it was mind over matter and staying positive really helped me," Carter said.
She was one of the first to go through treatment at the new Levine Cancer Institute in Midtown. She also took part in a unique way of treating the disease.
Doctors at LCI developed a uniform way of treating cancer that also makes clinical trials more easily accessible.
"You can find a clinical trial if you need it, the problem is, again, the time and energy spent and many times that's why patients will receive standard of care treatment,” Dr. Edward Kim said.
The pathway treatment guideline looks like a flow chart of treatment options.
It's the first time a health care system has developed a treatment plan like this that is accessible at every hospital in the system. That means regardless of what hospital you go to within the Carolinas Heathcare System, you get the same level of treatment. So, someone on the eastern side of the state would not have to make the drive to Charlotte to receive the best care.
The chart not only breaks down each step, but also shows the clinical trials that are available at the time.
For someone like Carter, it meant treatment tailored specifically to her. Now entering her sixth month, she just found out Saturday she's in remission.
"I just hope to have a great rest of my senior year," she said.