Cancer Clinical Trials Help Patients Find Hope

“I thought she wouldn’t have more than one or two years to live, “said Dr. Marilyn Norton.

The cure for cancer and many other diseases will eventually be found through what is called a clinical trial. A Chula Vista woman who has breast cancer had it spread to her spine, lung, and liver endured three clinical trials before she found hope.

Patricia Martinez was shocked when the doctor told her she had cancer.

“When they told me, I was in shock. It was hard, but I think I’m a strong woman,” said Martinez.

Martinez’s oncologist said her cancer kept spreading with traditional treatments.

“I thought she wouldn’t have more than one or two years to live," said Dr. Marilyn Norton.

Norton encouraged Martinez to join a clinical trial at Sharp Chula Vista’s Barnhart Cancer Center. Sharp hospitals are currently taking part in about 400 clinical trials at its hospitals. 20 are for cancer treatments.

“Sharp has always been very proactive in getting trials that are important to our community,” Said Norton.

However, the first trial didn’t help Martinez. She then joined a second trial that made her sick. Norton told her to hold on to hope. She asked her to try again.

“If she had not said yes to that third clinical trial, she would not be alive today. Since she's been on this clinical trial, her tumors initially shrunk and now they're not growing,” said Norton.

The 54-year-old woman who had one to two years is still watching her granddaughter four-years later.

“It’s not my time and you know my family makes me happy. That’s my strength,” said Martinez.

As part of “Clinical Trials Day,” sharp healthcare is hosting a Clinical Trials Research Showcase on May 20th at its Copley building in Kearny Mesa. It starts at 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

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