texas oncology more breakthroughs. more victories
Some of our cancer centers are experiencing issues.  View More Important Notifications x

Mallory Leblanc: A Clinical Trial Saved My Life

Mallory Leblanc

“Thirty years ago, my diagnosis could have killed me, but cancer research and clinical trials like the one I participated in saved my life. The stakes could not be higher – so why not participate in a clinical trial? You’re fighting cancer and advancing cancer care – and that’s amazing.”

Mallory Leblanc
Breast Cancer

One of the first things people notice when they meet Mallory Leblanc is her positive energy. The 37-year-old Dallas native exudes enthusiasm – a trait that helped carry her through one of the most challenging chapters of her life.

In early 2020, as the world was entering the earliest phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mallory’s world was also turned upside down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I was very scared. I had a baby at home. We were on the verge of a global pandemic. A million thoughts were running through my mind. I remember wondering if I was going to die,” said Mallory, who works in the corporate office for a national, Dallas-based retailer.

She could have been led by fear. Instead, she chose to fight.

Into the Unknown

Mallory was referred to Kristi J. McIntyre, M.D., medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Presbyterian Cancer Center Dallas. While the tumor in Mallory’s breast was fast-growing, there was good news: she was a candidate for a clinical trial.

A clinical trial is a research study examining the safety and effectiveness of different cancer treatments, often used in conjunction with traditional forms of treatment like chemotherapy or radiation. Discoveries like new cancer therapies or combinations of drugs, innovations in radiation therapy, and better screening and diagnosing methods come from clinical trials. Research studies also reveal insights into the disease and ways to deliver better care.

Mallory said she wasn’t sure what the future held, but she was ready to start treatment as soon as possible.

“Mallory was the perfect candidate for a clinical trial as she was able to understand the scientific reason for the trial, was highly motivated to participate, and accepted the need for closer monitoring,” said Dr. McIntyre, who also worked with W. Lee Bourland, Jr., M.D., FACS, surgical oncologist at Texas Breast Specialists–Presbyterian Dallas, to ensure a seamless approach to Mallory’s cancer care plan.

Mallory’s care plan included neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or chemotherapy to shrink a tumor or stop it from growing prior to surgery. Additionally, Mallory made the decision to participate in the clinical trial for an immunotherapy drug for high-risk breast cancer patients.

Choosing Optimism

“Once I started treatment, I knew I was doing everything I could possibly do to fight the disease. My team at Texas Oncology was dedicated to my care, and my research nurse, Nancy Jones, was at every appointment. I felt like I was getting ‘white glove’ treatment,” said Mallory, who encouraged others to explore clinical trial eligibility and participation.

“The contribution that research patients like Mallory make to advancing cancer care is invaluable. The treatment options available today and in the future are a direct result of patients like her who make that leap and decide to participate in a clinical trial,” said Nancy Jones, BSN, RN, OCN, senior clinical research nurse, Texas Oncology–Presbyterian Cancer Center Dallas.

Less than a year after her diagnosis, Mallory completed chemotherapy, had a double mastectomy, participated in a clinical trial, and was declared cancer free.

“Thirty years ago, my diagnosis could have killed me, but cancer research and clinical trials like the one I participated in saved my life. The stakes could not be higher – so why not participate in a clinical trial? You’re fighting cancer and advancing cancer care – and that’s amazing,” said Mallory.

Breakthroughs that advance prevention and treatment of cancer are made possible by patients like Mallory who volunteer to participate in clinical trials and research. Texas Oncology physicians, staff, and patients have contributed to the development of more than 100 FDA-approved cancer therapies. Learn more about clinical trial eligibility and participation.

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.