When Pat Davis learned she had pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma that had spread to her liver, she didn’t panic. She did her homework.
Pat, a retired surgical nurse, changed physicians in February 2011. Her new physician ordered a few standard tests for new patients. The results of her CT scan showed tumors on her liver and pancreas. A needle biopsy confirmed the tumors were malignant. Besides a slight back ache and some weight loss, Pat had no idea she was sick. “I’m very thankful my doctor ordered those tests. If she hadn’t, my cancer might not have been found until it was too far advanced.”
Malek Safa, MD, is Pat’s oncologist. He recommended Pat be seen by Shannon Kauffman, MD, an interventional radiologist specializing in the liver, who see’s patients at the Liver Center at Miami Valley Hospital South. He talked to Pat about implanting radioactive beads into her liver to treat the tumors. He found, however, the blood supply to her liver would not allow this procedure so he opted for chemoembolization.
Chemoembolization gives a very high dose of chemotherapy, or anti-cancer drugs, directly into the arteries that supply the tumor with blood. A benefit of the procedure is that it prevents the less-than-desirable effects of chemotherapy from getting to the entire body.
“They planted seeds into the blood supply to the tumors so the tumors don’t receive blood. I had no sickness at all and very little hair loss.” She had chemoembolization done twice – to both lobes of her liver – in May and June 2011.
Pat, 81, opted for Dr. Kauffman because she wanted to stay close to home. “Many of my friends encouraged me to look at the larger cancer centers in big cities for my care. I trusted Dr. Kauffman and wanted to stay close to my family and my church family.” She applauds the staff at the Liver Center for being very professional, confident and caring. “I had wonderful care during my procedures.”
A CT scan done April 27, 2012 indicates that Pat’s tumors have responded well to the treatment with significant decrease in size from her original CT examination and have remained stable for some time now... “They are the same size which is good news to me. I’ve regained much of my strength and I’m back volunteering two or three days a week at my church. I took a fairly long walk to the park the other day and that pleased me.” She continues to receive monthly injections through her oncologist, Dr. Safa. Both Dr. Safa and Dr. Kauffman continue to follow Pat closely.