Triple-negative breast cancer survivor sees only benefits from immunotherapy clinical trial

Lori Shults didn’t know much about clinical trials when she first came to MD Anderson in May 2017. “I thought they involved some people getting medicine and others just getting sugar pills,” she recalls. “That sounded too risky for me, so I wasn’t interested.” Fortunately, the Hill Country school teacher soon learned that her understanding of clinical trials was both limited and inaccurate. She also learned that an innovative clinical trial being conducted as part of MD Anderson’s Breast Cancer Moon Shot™ could benefit her personally. The trial would allow Lori to start her treatment with chemotherapy (the standard for triple-negative breast cancer) and pursue other options only if that proved ineffective. “Once I realized I’d be getting what everyone else got, plus something extra if the conventional treatment didn’t work, I didn’t see a downside to it,” she says. A team approach with individualized care Lori was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at age 38, after finding a lump in her right breast. She went to a local surgeon recommended by her gynecologist, but their miscommunications left her feeling even more anxious about her situation. “The surgeon said I needed to have my breast removed right away,” says Lori, who decided then to come to MD Anderson. “But I don’t like being rushed. I also don’t like having to tell my whole story over again to every new doctor I meet. Not having everyone all together made it feel really chaotic.” At MD Anderson, Lori met with her entire care team on the same day. They agreed that her treatment should start quickly. “But there wasn’t the same...