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Longview Woman Beats Breast Cancer While Advancing Medical Research

Publication: KETK-TV (FOX), Tyler-Longview, TX
10/27/2016

We're nearing the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and one Longview woman is sharing her special story of survival, while advancing research along the way.

As breast cancer becomes more prominent in our country, women have become survivors, advocates and activists in the treatment and prevention of the disease. Jennifer Roberts turned her journey into a learning experience for herself and all those that know her.

"The radiologist actually just said 'do you understand what I'm telling you?' because I just was so stunned," said Roberts.

She was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer four years ago. While she was in disbelief, her nurse said she was a fighter from the get go.

"What I saw was that she's going to do what she has to do to get through this," said Texas Oncology-Longview Clinical Research Coordinator Christy McCollough.

Jennifer said she started losing her hair pretty quickly, but had fun with the ability to change up her hair styles using fun wigs. She sent KETK a video getting her hair buzzed and you can hear her saying "I like it! It's not that bad."

"I really think that's why she has done so well, is that she has been willing to fight with a good attitude and a kind heart," said Dr. Matei Socoteanu, Texas Oncology-Longview Medical Oncologist.

The discoveries of basic science has translated to better treatment.

"We're finding more drugs to attack specific mutations, that's big. That changes a lot of lives," said McCollough.

In order to test certain drugs, people have to be willing to become a part of research and Jennifer was.

"Her particular research study was looking at a brand new medicine that actually attacks that targeted mutation much stronger than some of the older drugs that attack that site," said Dr. Socoteanu.

He said the study was designed to try and improve chemotherapy, along with the treatment, to make her breast cancer less likely to ever come back.

"Why go through all the chemo and everything if you're not doing everything you can? The opportunity, you can't pass that up," said Roberts.

While they don't know if she had the drug or a placebo because the clinical trial was double-blind, Jennifer can still celebrate being cancer-free.

She is a high school English teacher in Hallsville and she said her students played a large role in supporting her journey.

Texas Oncology has more than 60 clinical trials each year, expanding access to better treatment. For more information, click here.

Click here to watch the full story.

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