Woman chooses to live with cancer, not fight it

3:46 PM, Dec 6, 2009   |    comments
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"I'm excellent, life is fabulous," she told a nurse at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Thornton is 18 months into her second clinical trial since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer six and half years ago.

The drug that she and 40 other cancer patients are taking is in the first phase of clinical trials.

"I'd rather be a guinea pig than doing what they know, which is traditional chemo that's going to change my quality of life," Thornton said.

Thornton says she lives for trips back east each year to spend time with her grand-nieces and nephews and she's not letting cancer stand in her way.

"I have things to do, places to go, people to see, and when they gave me an early diagnoses, I said excuse me, that's not going to work," she said.

Dr. Wells Messersmith is the oncologist overseeing the study.

"We don't know, going into this, how things are going to work," he said of the trial.

Thornton and Messersmith were surprised to find the drug known as ENMD-2076 is working well for ovarian cancer patients involved in the study.

"We have your counts back and they look great," Messersmith said to Thornton during a checkup.

"This is what gets us all up in the morning, to see someone take advantage of it and live life to the fullest," Messersmith said.

Thornton says she knows she will someday die with cancer, but she has no plans of dying from it.

The clinical trial has given her an opportunity do the things in life she loves, and because of that she is thankful for the chance to be a guinea pig.

"It's given me the ability to laugh and play and chase kids into the ocean and do all those kinds of things," Thornton said.

Roughly one in every 10 drugs that go through clinical trials gets FDA approval.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center will move on to phase two of the drug testing in March. In the second phase doctors will focus only on patients with ovarian cancer to see if the results match those in phase one.

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