PATIENTS SUCCESS STORIES

Kommah, breast cancer survivor

“I knew inside something was wrong.”

Kommah had just gotten engaged when she found the lump in her breast. Her doctors assured her she was too young to have cancer. She insisted her doctors remove the growth. That’s when they confirmed what she had intuited.

Lacking confidence in her doctors, Kommah had her records transferred to City of Hope. She was diagnosed with late-stage inflammatory breast cancer – a very aggressive cancer – and told she had a five percent chance of surviving two years.

To make matters worse, Kommah and her husband learned chances were slim she’d ever have a child, given the intense treatment she’d have to go through. “We were planning to adopt. But the radiation oncologist said he wanted to give me a fighting chance,” Kommah noted.

He understood us better than we did ourselves. So he covered my reproductive organs. He was doing his part to make sure that if I could have a baby, my organs would be healthy enough to do it. Caring forethought like that is what makes City of Hope so special.Kommah McDowell

Exactly two years after her final radiation treatment, Kommah got an even more surprising medical diagnosis: She was pregnant. Her miracle son, Christian, has changed her life in every way. Once an ambitious financial services professional, Kommah has devoted herself entirely to her family and raising Christian, whom she playfully calls her “supervisor” (and refers to herself as a “domestic engineer.")

Now completely cancer free, Kommah says about her experience: “City of Hope treated me as a person. I wasn’t just a patient, a chart. I mattered. My team cared for me all through the journey. They knew what was important to me.”

 Homa, lymphoma survivor

“You deserve a doctor you feel confident in and who you believe is invested in your care. That’s why I chose Dr. Somlo and City of Hope.”

There’s never a good time to get cancer, but Homa Sadat’s breast cancer diagnosis came at a particularly bad time — just one year after her father lost his two-year battle to pancreatic cancer.

Sadat was 27 when she found a lump in her breast, but her doctor dismissed her initial concerns, noting that she’s too young to have cancer. But Homa insisted on a biopsy a few months later when she felt a shooting pain, and the test revealed that she has triple negative breast cancer, the hardest type to treat since it is resistant to current targeted therapies.

After considering her treatment options, Sadat ultimately chose City of Hope because of her confidence in Dr. George Somlo, whose research interests include finding better treatments for triple negative breast cancer. At City of Hope, Sadat volunteered for a Phase II clinical trial combining standard chemotherapy drug carboplatin with a novel nanoparticle drug called nab-paclitaxel.

The trial called for her to undergo drug therapy for 16 weeks before having breast cancer surgery, but halfway through the trial, Sadat and her care team found a pleasant surprise.

“I went in for an ultrasound-guided biopsy, and they said there’s nothing to biopsy,” Sadat said. “They couldn’t find the tumor.”

Sadat continued the treatments for another 8 weeks and had breast surgery at the original tumor site. No cancer cells were found in the removed tissues, confirming that Sadat’s cancer had gone into complete remission.

Since completing her treatment in 2013, Sadat has married and hopes to start a family soon.

“The idea of an exciting future with Joey and getting married to him is what encouraged me to be strong and fight this battle,” Sadat said.  “He gave me hope.”