To make donations that will 100% go towards metastatic breast cancer research, please make your check out to UC Regents. Write "Rugo Breast Cancer Research in honor of ____________" on the memo line. Mail checks to:
Attn: Hope Rugo, MD
1600 Divisidero St Box 1710
San Francisco, CA 94115
In spite of regular mammograms and regular ultrasounds, in February 2012, Vickie Young Wen was diagnosed with Stage IIIb breast cancer a few weeks before her 49th birthday. She underwent eight rounds of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, followed by a lumpectomy and radiation. In the midst of her radiation treatments, she experienced severe pain in her neck. Six weeks after completing radiation, an MRI was ordered with the results revealing a broken vertebra in her neck due to tumor load and the presence of cancer in every vertebrae but two, and in one rib and in both sides of her hips. Her diagnosis was revised to Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She started hormonal treatments, but the cancer spread further to all vertebrae, plus an additional lesion in her left hip socket. There are also lesions in several ribs and in her sternum.
In November 2013, Vickie started a clinical trial that tested a trial drug in combination with Faslodex, another hormone treatment. In May 2014, the cancer spread to her liver with multiple/numerous lesions. She was then switched to an oral chemotherapy, Xeloda. The oral chemotherapy has caused the liver metastases to disappear and has brought about significant healing in her bones.
In June 2015, the cancer in her bones woke up and became more active. Two more tumors were found in the pelvic bone and the lesion in her left hip socket became more active. She switched treatments to the newly approved Ibrance in combination with Letrozole. That treatment failed after four months. One cycle of Aromasin/Afinitor landed Vickie in the emergency room (the first time she's had to go to the ER since 8th grade!) with respiratory problems. The A/A combo was stopped and one cycle of Doxil was tried, with poor results. Cancer exploded into her liver (over 30 tumors) and a new chemotherapy regime, Abraxane was started. One cycle has brought the pain Vickie was in down to a minimum level and she is feeling much better. She still has to have blood transfusions once a month as her bone marrow tries to recover from both cancer and treatment effects. In February 2016, Vickie feels as close to normal as she has felt for quite some time.
Vickie is a firm believer in science based treatment. She is appalled at the lack of funding that actually goes into pure research to treat/cure metastatic breast cancer. This website is designed to educate people for the need of research funds, with the recommendation that donations be made directly to the oncology team treating her. The life they save may be hers, as well as many others who will benefit from research.