Elyse NeMoyer, diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 1995, participated in two clinical trials that changed the practice of treating breast cancer. NeMoyer was initially treated by Ellis Levine, MD, Chief of Breast Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
After learning of her disease, NeMoyer was devastated. She assumed that she was a “really healthy person” and that there was no history of breast cancer in her family. Determined to fight the disease, she wanted to get the latest treatments.
NeMoyer believes that Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is “always searching for better ways to treat patients” so she knew she was in good hands. Even if she was initially referred to a doctor at a different facility, NeMoyer called Roswell Park and was seen the next day.
When Dr. Levine and NeMoyer first met, Levine explained the standard treatment regimen for breast cancer and the clinical trial options. NeMoyer was determined to be a part of a clinical trial, and she was eventually placed on two.
Levine reported that NeMoyer was a part of two clinical trials that changed the practice of treating breast cancer. The first clinical trial NeMoyer participated in added taxanes, which are a type of drug that blocks cell growth, to the then-standard treatment of Adriamycin and Cytoxan that increased survival rates. The second trial NeMoyer participated in prolonged hormonal therapy that improves outcomes.
NeMoyer said that participating in two clinical trials was a “positive experience.” She credits the tests for saving her life.
NeMoyer beat breast cancer, however, in 2007, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Afterward, she had a bone marrow transplant in 2008. NeMoyer has been cancer-free for more than ten years.
“For anyone who’s thinking about being part of one, I would first tell them to get all of the information they need. If you start a clinical trial, you are not bound to it. If you want to stop and only get the standard treatment regimen, you can,” NeMoyer suggested.
“Research saves lives. You’re not only doing it for yourself. It’s for the greater good,” Nemoyer added.
“Elyse courageously participated in clinical protocols not only to hopefully help herself but also to unselfishly increase our knowledge of treatment so that in the future, other women with breast cancer can be helped as well,” says Dr. Levine. “Both studies were positive in regards to changing the present standard of care for breast cancer.”