• Colorectal Cancer patient with doctors

Ingalls Advancing Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Through Research

Before Michelle Burnett became the second person in the world to enroll in a breakthrough research study at Ingalls Cancer Care in 2016, she had run out of options. After a debilitating seven-year battle with stage 4 colorectal cancer, doctors discovered that her cancer spread to her lymph nodes. “When you’re given a diagnosis like I was, you need to find a really good place to go,” she explains. Burnett’s cancer care team at Ingalls includes Mark Kozloff MD, Medical Director of Ingalls Cancer Care, and cancer research nurse Joy Vlamakis, RN. The “miracle study,” as Burnett calls it, uses immunotherapy to tap into the body’s own ability to fight disease.*

Ingalls was the only hospital in Illinois – and one of only a handful in the Midwest – to offer the trial. After just four treatments, the difference in Burnett was like “night and day.”

“The real miracle came when I had my scan done after four treatments and found that not only did my disease improve overall by 36 percent, but that one of the tumors in my liver completely disappeared. That’s why I wanted to go to Ingalls.”

“Immunotherapy agents help unleash the immune system’s potential to fight off certain types of cancer, and I’m proud to say we’ve been investigating and using these treatments at Ingalls for several years now,” Dr. Kozloff explains.

Ingalls currently offers immunotherapy treatments for malignant melanoma, certain types of lung cancer, and kidney cancer, and is investigating immunotherapy agents to treat esophageal and gastrointestinal/stomach cancers.

*This particular study is now closed.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Awareness of symptoms and signs of colorectal cancer can be lifesaving. “Most people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease,” explains gastroenterologist Adrienne Fregia, MD.

Studies show up to 90% of colon cancers could be prevented by proper screening. People with an average risk should begin screening at age 50; but those with an increased risk, including individuals with a family history, and African-Americans, may begin screening at age 45.

For more information, call Ingalls Care Connection at 708.915.2273 (CARE).

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