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Jessica Veiga: Practicing Law and Preventing Cancer in Future Generations

“I didn’t want this to define me. I want to go on as normal as possible.”

Jessica Veiga

For Jessica Veiga, what began as a trip to the doctor for heartburn led to a surprising fallopian tube cancer diagnosis at age 37. Jessica was referred to Dr. Helen Eshed of Texas Oncology–Austin Central and had surgery to remove the cancer, in addition to a hysterectomy. She is grateful that Texas Oncology care team’s had the expertise to detect and remove the cancer in a timely fashion, which she credits for improving her prognosis. 

New Gynecologic Cancer Care Standards

The approach to Jessica’s treatment was based on recently published research that focused on patients with certain gynecologic cancers and the BRCA gene mutation. The study indicated that patients like Jessica would benefit from maintenance therapy with a PARP inhibitor, a specific type of oncology drug therapy. This finding has changed Texas Oncology’s treatment approach with these types of patients. For physicians like Dr. Eshed, this means offering genetic testing up front to determine whether this type of maintenance therapy can improve patient outcomes.

“Staying current on research is important in providing leading-edge cancer care,” says Dr. Eshed. “This study was so compelling that we’ve revised our protocols for patients like Jessica.”

Working Through Cancer

Part of Jessica’s treatment included six rounds of chemotherapy. As a dedicated mother and paralegal, it was important for her to continue caring for her daughters and nurturing her career as much as possible. 

“I didn’t want this to define me,” Jessica said. “I wanted to show my daughters this is just something Mommy is taking care of.” 

Jessica shared her goals and values with Dr. Eshed to help guide their decision making about treatment. Jessica’s goal was to continue doing the work she loves as a paralegal, so that she could continue setting an example for her daughters and maintain a sense of normalcy. With Dr. Eshed’s guidance and the support of her colleagues, she was able to adjust her schedule and continue working through her chemotherapy treatments.

Preventing Cancer in Future Generations

Jessica was aware of her family history with breast cancer, but genetic testing revealed she also has the BRCA gene. For Jessica, having this knowledge means she can educate her daughters about their potential risk. With this information in hand, her daughters will be able to seek out genetic testing for the BRCA mutation and begin screenings at an earlier age which can help prevent cancer or detect it sooner.

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.