October 02, 2019
After James Rogers was treated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, he knew he needed expert care with the researchers and reputation to keep his lung cancer at bay. He found that closer to home at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
The University of Kansas Cancer Center is 1 of 71 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the United States and the only one in the region. NCI-designated cancer centers have achieved the highest standards in cancer care and demonstrate promising research in cancer treatment.
That meant a lot to James who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013.
Puzzling lung cancer symptoms
In May 2013, on what was supposed to be an ordinary spring morning, James got out of bed, headed down the hall and fell. It was the third time in 3 weeks that he’d had an inexplicable fall – and this time his wife insisted he go to the emergency room.
It wasn’t a stroke. His blood work was fine. An MRI, however, revealed multiple lesions in James' lungs and brain. The lesions in his brain were pushing against the areas that controlled motor functions and peripheral vision. The diagnosis was stage 4 lung cancer.
“I didn’t notice the signs; they happened so gradually,” James says. He’d bump into objects, hit the doorjamb or kick a table leg, but he never put the symptoms together, and he never suspected cancer.
The doctors at The University of Kansas Cancer Center are very supportive, very good and very aggressive with helping me. They’re here to treat me and do what’s best for me. –James RogersLung cancer survivor
Renewed hope at home
At MD Anderson in Houston, James had gamma knife radiosurgery to reduce the brain lesions. This was followed by 7 months of chemotherapy and radiation to further shrink and slow remaining tumor growth.
The procedures offered hope, but James knew they weren’t a cure. To live with lung cancer, he would need to be vigilant and work with doctors who would treat his condition aggressively.
As vice president of a local Kansas City construction company, James couldn’t stay in Houston indefinitely. In November 2013, he returned to Kansas City and The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Here, he found the expertise he was looking for in medical oncologist Chao Huang, MD, who specializes in head and neck and lung cancer.
“I knew we needed an accredited cancer center. We needed to find someone we could trust,” says James. “The University of Kansas Cancer Center was the logical choice.”
Later, when James’ tumors started growing again, Dr. Huang enrolled him in a clinical trial using immunotherapy. For 11 weeks, James was injected with genetically modified cancer cells designed to teach his T cells to recognize cancer and then tell his red blood cells to attack it. So far, the treatment has slowed tumor growth.
“The doctors at The University of Kansas Cancer Center are very supportive, very good and very aggressive with helping me,” James says. “They’re here to treat me and do what’s best for me.”
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This individual participated in a clinical trial of an investigational treatment. Clinical trials are different from standard medical care. As with all research studies, clinical trial participant outcomes vary. Before participating in a clinical trial, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider.