Breast cancer study: breakthrough research story of survival - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Breast cancer study: breakthrough research story of survival

Breakthrough research is giving one Delaware woman another chance at life.  Doctors say the treatment brought amazing results in just a matter of months.

"So it's a wonderful day and we're going to celebrate ... and here goes my bell," said Margaret Williams.

Williams marks the end of her breast cancer battle with the ringing of a survivor's bell at christiana care breast center.  She didn't think this day would come as fast as it did.

"I was shocked when Dr. Dickson-Witmer told me that it was gone and this breakthrough had been made," said Margaret Williams.

Williams came under the care of Dr. Diana Dickson-Witmer after she discovered her breast cancer by accident.

"I went to open a window that was stuck and when I did it, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. And I woke up the next morning in a lot of pain and I also had this big lump," said Margaret Williams.

A mammogram detected a 3 1/2 inch cancerous lump in her breast.   She decided a clinical trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute was her best bet.   It's the first of its kind in the U.S., where postmenopausal patients take a daily estrogen-blocking pill to shrink their breast cancer before surgery.   Doctors say unlike chemotherapy, the drug called aromatase inhibitors have little to no side-effects.

"We know that chemotherapy can shrink tumors down so we can do smaller surgical procedures to get it out, but chemotherapy is a rough road to go," said Dr. Diana Dickson-Witmer.

"People stage for stage do better if they have their treatment in an NCI sponsored clinical trial, just because probably of the intense scrutiny with the way the test is administered," said Dr. Diana Dickson-Witmer.

Williams was hesitant to join a clinical trial at first, and now she says she owes her life to it.

"I am overwhelmed by what has happened here. Not only because the cancer is gone, but I just never concerned myself with breast cancer," said Margaret Williams.

Margaret received three weeks of radiation after surgery, and is now cancer-free.

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