Pink Pack: Clinical trial breakthrough

Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Breakthrough research is giving one Delaware woman another chance at life.

Doctors say the new breast cancer treatment brought amazing results in just a matter of months.

Margaret Williams marked the end of her breast cancer battle with the ringing of a survivor's bell at Christiana Care Breast Center.

She didn't think the day would come as fast as it did.

"I was shocked when Dr. Dickson-Witmer told me that it was gone and this breakthrough had been made," said Margaret .

Margaret came under the care of Dr. Diana Dickson-Witmer after she discovered her breast cancer by accident.

"I went to open a window that was stuck and when I did it, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder," said Margaret .  "And I woke up the next morning in a lot of pain and I also had this big lump."

A mammogram detected a 3.5" cancerous lump in her breast.  She decided a clinical trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute was her best bet.

The trial had postmenopausal patients take a daily estrogen-blocking pill to shrink their breast cancer before surgery.

Unlike chemotherapy, doctors say the drug aromatse inhibitors have little to no side-effects.

"We know that chemotherapy can shrink tumors down so we can do smaller surgical procedures to get it out, but chemotherapy is a rough road to go," said Dr. Witmer.

After only a couple months of the estrogen-blocking pills, there are fewer cancer cells.

In Margaret's case, her cancerous lump disappeared within four months.

"People stage for stage do better if they have their treatment in an NCI sponsored clinical trial, just because probably of the intense scrutiny with the way the test is administered," said Dr. Witmer.

Margaret was hesitant to join a clinical trial at first, but now says she owes her life to it.

"I am overwhelmed by what has happened here," said Margaret.  "Not only because the cancer is gone, but I just never concerned myself with breast cancer."

Margaret received 3 weeks of radiation after surgery and is now cancer free.

To learn more about the clinical trial, click here.