Treatment Gives Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient a Second Chance 

June Walta gains new perspective after diagnosis 

June WaltaJune Walta is looking toward the future. 

“It’s a miracle of modern science!” said June, who received recently approved treatment for metastatic breast cancer at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. “I thought I was dying, but now I have a second chance. I’m the luckiest person on Earth!” 

From bad to worse 

In the spring of 2015, June lost weight inexplicably. She couldn’t eat. She couldn’t walk. 

“To begin with, I was happy I was losing weight. But, then I lost quite a bit of weight and was afraid to walk. I knew something wasn’t right,” said June, of Tonganoxie, Kansas. 

“We went to the (local hospital) emergency room, and my husband had to use a wheelchair to get me around. After an abdominal CT scan, they sent me to The University of Kansas Health System in an ambulance,” she said. “Apparently, they thought I was in bad shape, too.” 

Upon her transfer, June had additional tests, scans and biopsies. After the examination, doctors diagnosed her with abdominal cancer that had spread from stage IV hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. 

“They drained the fluid from my stomach, but the surgeons didn’t think they could help me,” she said. “That’s when Dr. Khan came to see me.” 

Looking for answers 

Qamar Khan, MD, breast cancer oncologist, assessed June’s condition and determined she was an ideal candidate for a new targeted treatment combined with endocrine therapy. 

“This treatment was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration before June’s diagnosis. It slows the progression of cancer by inhibiting cell growth and division in certain forms of cancers,” said Dr. Khan. 

June and her husband, David, were anxious and worried about her condition, despite Dr. Khan’s plan. 

“My maternal grandmother and paternal aunt had breast cancer during their lifetimes. My sister and niece had some benign, fibrous tumors. Before I was diagnosed, I noticed a lump in one of my breasts, but it wasn’t very big. I never wanted to face the possibility that I might get breast cancer,” said June. 

She and David were impatient for signs of improvement. She wasn’t gaining weight or feeling better. But, after several months, June was back to doing normal things. 

“I had more energy and gained some weight. Now, I’m doing the things I did before: mowing the yard, weeding and being outdoors. These were things I didn’t think I would ever do again,” she said. “All of my lab tests are good. Dr. Khan can’t even see the tumors on my scans. It’s amazing!” 

A future in sight 

Dr. Khan said June’s case is genuinely remarkable. Her cancer had metastasized extensively throughout her body. 

“Her condition was not good,” said Dr. Khan. “The treatment did what it is supposed to do, and her prognosis is very good. Her cancer is stable at this time ̶  not cured completely or for forever, but for now, she’s good.” 

“I can’t thank Dr. Khan enough! He saved my life,” June said. “Everyone I encountered at the cancer center was wonderful. They helped me with everything and really cared.” 

And, while June said she loved seeing the staff during her appointments, she is happy that she only goes every three months for follow-ups. June said she has gained new perspective since facing down cancer. 

“I don’t let the small things bother me anymore. I know there are bigger things to worry about!” she said.


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