SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Cancer research has come a long way in recent years allowing doctors to do things like specifically target the type of treatment needed for a tumor and pinpoint exactly where radiation needs to go.
Mary Lais was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. Back then, treatment options took a one-size-fits-all approach.
“We just did, like I said, was the standard treatment. It was Adriamycin and Cytoxan,” Lais said.
Fortunately, that treatment worked for her and she’s been cancer free for 24 years. But that’s not always the case.
“My reaction may be totally different than the next person next to me. It is just that personalized,” Lais said.
Narrowing down the type of treatment needed for a tumor is something Avera Medical Group has been studying through genomic mutation understanding.
“That ability to really detect what the tumor is telling us how to treat the cancer is going to be much more pronounced over the next several years,” Dr. John Lee, Chief Medical Officer for Cancer Research at Avera Medical Group said.
Lee says research has also been done to suppress the impact a tumor has on the immune system through immunotherapies.
“So what these therapies do is actually block that immune suppressive action of the tumor and then allow our body to again clear the cancer,” Lee said.
Robert Boese is currently fighting colon cancer and needs transfusions every two weeks. He’s grateful for how far research has come.
“I think it’s always kind of scary when you get that diagnosis, but they’ve made so many improvements in the treatments of cancer that, you know, it’s alright,” Boese said.
There are many organizations that spend time fundraising for cancer research, like Stand Up to Cancer. And this Saturday night, CBS, along with the other major television networks, will be airing the annual Stand Up to Cancer telethon. That begins at 7 p.m. central time