Health Team

Cancer special could fund Duke research

Posted September 5, 2008 5:48 p.m. EDT
Updated September 16, 2008 11:57 a.m. EDT

— The three major television networks -- CBS, ABC and NBC -- will participate in a historic televised event Friday night to raise money for cancer research.

Some of the dollars collected by "Standup 2 Cancer" could end up in the Triangle.

At Duke, cutting edge research is being done to match different types of breast cancer with different types of treatment.

Nancy Garman, 61, is a participant in the Duke study. Instead of the more common surgery, her doctor offered chemotherapy.

"I thought, 'Why would I ever think about doing pre-surgery chemo when I might have a lumpectomy and never have to have chemotherapy,'" Garman recalled.

First she underwent a biopsy to analyze just what type of tumor she had. Her tumor type was compared to similar ones. A review of other patients' results determined which chemo would work best.

After three weeks, Dr. Kelly Marcom could not even find Garman's tumor to measure it.

That doesn't mean the cancer is gone or will disappear entirely."It will hopefully allow us to keep the surgery to as little as possible and allow some women to have better breast conservation," Marcom, a Duke medical oncologist said.

For some, it could mean the difference between a mastectomy and lumpectomy.

Garman is only halfway through her chemo treatments, but she is encouraged. "I have a daughter. I have a daughter-in-law and 3 granddaughters and so whatever we can do that can make a difference," she said.

If you are interested in the breast cancer trial, contact Traci Foster, 919-681-8659 or