A Middle Tennessee woman is fighting a rare form of breast cancer with a game-changing treatment program.
Several years ago, Kim Alexander was diagnosed with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.
"Your life turns upside down. It's surreal. It's horrific. It's hard to get your mind around it. I just remember being frozen," she said.
Although she tried several treatments, nothing seemed to work.
"We had done several clinical trials. There just wasn't anything else," Alexander said.
Then, in December 2010, she began receiving treatment at Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Nashville with a new targeted therapy called Kadcyla.
Dr. Denise Yardley says instead of delivering cancer-fighting chemicals to the entire body, this treatment seeks out the cancer cells to deliver targeted treatment.
"It spares the patient from a lot of side effects from the other chemotherapy that don't have that delivery to the cancer cell," Yardley said.
After Alexander started the treatment, she got a surprising progress report from her doctor.
"It says there is no evidence of cancer," she said. "I did not expect it."
Kadcyla is now approved by the FDA, and Alexander continues to receive treatments.
She's not alone in fighting this rare disease. Roughly 155,000 people in the United States are living with the same form of cancer.
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