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Treatment Gives Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient a Second Chance

Breast cancer patient June Walta.

August 13, 2019

June Walta is looking toward the future.

“It’s a miracle of modern science!” says 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!”

Metastatic breast cancer found in abdomen

In spring 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,” says 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 says. “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 says. “That’s when Dr. Khan came to see me.”

New breast cancer treatment offers hope

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,” says 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,” June says.

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 says. “All of my lab tests are good. Dr. Khan can’t even see the tumors on my scans. It’s amazing!”

A remarkable recovery

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

“Her condition was not good,” says 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 says. “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 3 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 says.

Request your appointment today.

To make an appointment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, call 913-588-1227.

As with all treatments, individual patient results vary. It is important to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider.

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