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Christina Duhon: An Innovative Solution

“I know it can be scary for others, but I wanted to be part of an innovative treatment, even if it wasn’t fully developed.”

Christina Duhon
Breast Cancer

It’s safe to say that most cancer patients are not introduced to their oncologists standing waist deep in a flowing Texas Hill Country river while fly fishing. But Christina Duhon’s cancer journey is not like others.

In 2010, during her pregnancy with her second child, Christina noticed a lump in one of her breasts. Believing it was related to her pregnancy, Christina waited until after delivering her son to have the lump removed. After the surgery, she learned that the lump was cancerous and was referred to Texas Oncology, where a CT scan revealed she had stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

“I really wanted to be put on a clinical trial,” says Christina. “I know it can be scary for others, but I wanted to be part of an innovative treatment, even if it wasn’t fully developed. I asked Texas Oncology to find one for me, and they did.”

Christina stayed on the clinical trial for almost two years before switching to maintenance therapy in July 2012. The research attempted to offer improvement in disease control by adding a novel targeted inhibitor agent to the standard chemotherapy-Herceptin combination. Christina eventually went on to standard hormonal therapy and Herceptin treatment.

She says that the team at Texas Oncology has worked to support and comfort both her and her family through the years of treatment.

“I love Texas Oncology,” says Christina. “The nurses, front office staff, and my oncologist all mean so much to me. They were always right there to hold my hand, to comfort me and my spouse.”

Christina is under the care of Dr. Lakshmi “Bala” Balasubramanian at Texas Oncology—Cedar Park, whom she met at a Casting for Recovery retreat, where Dr. Bala was volunteering as a medical facilitator. Casting for Recovery is a national nonprofit organization that hosts fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer.

After participating in the retreat, Christina and another participant lobbied Casting for Recovery to create a retreat exclusively for women with metastatic disease. 

“Casting for Recovery is an amazing organization,” says Christina. “It’s really special that they host retreats here in Texas for women who have a metastatic disease, and it means a lot to us that this organization recognizes our unique challenges.”

According to Dr. Bala, Christina is doing very well and thriving against the odds. Christina also has a positive outlook, thanks to considerable progress in oncology research.

Dr. Bala adds, “There have been significant strides made in the HER-2 positive breast cancer arena that Christina can and will benefit from in the future, both on and off clinical trials, if it is necessary.”

In the end, Christina says her cancer journey has taught her to focus on the things that mean the most.

“It’s taught me how to better balance my life,” says Christina. “I’m not going to miss my kids’ activities. I understand what’s important, and I’m not going to overlook the moments as pivotal as watching a child grow up.”

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.