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Posted: 3:45 p.m. Monday, June 18, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
The life of a woman changed on March 1 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Donna Thibodeau performed a self-exam in October before she was diagnosed and felt something peculiar.
"I noticed a little lump," Thibodeau said.
The lump began to grow into an aggressive form of breast cancer called HER2.
Doctors at Carolina's Healthcare System suggested she be treated with two new drugs. CHS is one of two hospitals in the U.S. that has the drug in clinical study.
"After cycle 1, it was almost gone. After cycle 2, they did an MRI and it was non-detectable So ... the tumor is gone," Thibodeau said.
On Friday, one of the drugs, pertuzamab, won the approval from the Federal Drug Administration.
Thibodeau's oncologist, Dr. Steven Limentani, estimates the drugs can help 20 percent of those suffering with breast cancer.
"The goal, like in Donna, is at the time of surgery to demonstrate that there is no residual cancer in the breast which changes them from a high risk setting to a low risk setting," Limentani said.
The change could be the life or death difference for people like Thibodeau and other women.
"That's why I did the study, you know, so I could be a part of helping other women avoid so much of what they've had to go through in the past," Thibodeau said.
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