MIAMI (CBS4) – For decades doctors have used chemotherapy to treat breast cancer, but patients are miserable.

They lose their hair and they’re fatigued.

In this week’s Komen For The Cure, doctors are learning how to target a woman’s treatment.

Like many cancer patients, Vanessa Hudson remembered the exact date and time she heard her diagnosis.

A breast cancer survivor tells CBS4 how much better that kind of treatment can be.

“March 14 at 5:25. That’s when I was diagnosed with cancer,” recalled Hudson.

When her younger son was still a baby, her life became complicated with chemotherapy which made her feel awful. Then came surgery to remove one of her breasts.

But when Vanessa’s cancer wasn’t beaten back, Dr. Carmen Calfa recommended targeted therapy.

“I decided let me do what the doctor says, not worry about it, and put my faith and trust in god,” said Hudson.

Targeted therapy gives patients drugs to kill their particular type of cancer.  One patient’s medicine can be vastly different from another patient.

“There is a huge hope that with more targeted therapies we’re going to be able to have a substantial improvement in the overall survival and maybe one day cure the breast cancer” explained Calfa.

The oncologist from Memorial Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Treatment Center in Hollywood said Hudson’s tumor is no where to be found now.

And there are other plusses.

“She has a great quality of life. She has not lost the hair. She is working full time. She is enjoying the motherhood and she’s a teacher,” said Dr. Calfa.

And if you ask Vanessa what she thinks is in store for her a year down the road?

“Still the same. Still thinking positive,” said Hudson. “Still having faith.”

Vanessa is taking a drug that doctors call super Herceptin in the hopes it will keep her cancer in remission.

If you’d like to know more about targeted therapies, visit the following links:

Click Here for information on targeted therapies.

Click Here for Memorial Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Treatment Center

Click Here for National Cancer Institute (National Institutes of Health)


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