19 Jan Latest Options for Cervical Cancer with Dr. William Bradley
Clinical trials are vital to the development of new techniques and treatment in medical care. By participating in such research, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital has established itself as a key player in advancing the scientific understanding of cancer.
“What sets us apart as an academic medical center is the ability to have a host of clinical trials available to patients,” said radiation oncologist Beth Erickson, MD. One trial, an international study of cervical cancer treatment known as Outback, gives half the participants an additional round of chemotherapy after they have received the standard treatment of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is exploring whether the additional chemotherapy improves survival.
“Anything we can do to prevent cancer recurrence is of immense value,” said gynecologic oncologist William Bradley, MD, the study’s lead investigator at the Clinical Cancer Center. “This trial could change the standard of care for this disease, from one in which chemotherapy is given with radiation therapy only, to one where additional chemotherapy is given after radiation therapy for about three months.”
Stacey Hand is one of eight area patients who participated in the trial. A resident of Kiel who works as a benefits analyst, Stacey was 32 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2013. An outgoing woman who teaches yoga to cancer survivors in Sheboygan, Stacey admits it wasn’t an easy decision to participate in the clinical trial. When the opportunity arose, she had not yet completed her initial treatment and the thought of possibly receiving more chemotherapy was overwhelming.
“I realized I could be put in the group that did not get the additional treatment, but if I was in the group that did, it could not only save my life, but could potentially save others,” she said. Ultimately, Stacey did receive the additional chemotherapy.
Stacey’s husband, Eric, helped her through the challenges of chemotherapy, including hair loss, achiness and fatigue, and accompanied her to all her chemotherapy sessions, making the long commute easier.
“It was a big decision to do the clinical trial, but I believe I was supposed to get the extra treatment because I needed it,” Stacey said. “I believe it made a difference.”
Today, Stacey is doing well. “All of her follow-up imaging studies have been very reassuring,” Dr. Erickson said.
“I feel lucky and blessed to have made this progress,” Stacey said