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Mercy Hospital joins in cancer study with several health organizations across the nation

(KY3)
Published: Jun. 1, 2017 at 10:46 PM CDT
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Mercy Hospital is now part of a national study that could help find a way to detect cancer earlier.

More than 70 health organizations across the country are participating, including Mayo and Cleveland Clinics.

Cindy Deskin is a Springfield school teacher. Now, with her sixth round of chemo behind her, she's more determined than ever to beat cancer.

"It picked the wrong person to pick on and I'm just going to knock it out of the park and I think that's going to go a long way in my treatment," Deskin said.

Deskin has multiple myeloma, just diagnosed in April. That makes her the perfect candidate for a new national cancer study in which Mercy is involved.

"It's my way of giving back to be in the study," Deskin said.

In this study, researchers are looking for the earliest signs of cancer. Across the country, thousands of patients like Deskin, who are newly diagnosed will donate their blood.

"A lot of times we catch it when it's too late to do surgery and we control the cancer, we don't cure the cancer, we treat it as best as we can," Mercy Oncologist Hematologist Mohan K. Tummala, MD said.

Not only are hospitals collecting blood samples and the tissue specimens from cancer patients, but also from people who have never had cancer.

"See if there is any signal they can catch from patients who are going to develop cancer," Tummala said.

Researchers are especially thrilled with the size of this study.

"It's so overwhelming for any single institution to do these sort of studies," Tummala said.

For Deskin, this study is an opportunity to think beyond her own cancer treatments, to contribute a little blood that could make a big difference to cancer patients in the future.

"That's a small price to pay to help somebody's life," Deskin said.

Oncologists said studies like this one will determine the future of cancer, how it's detected and one day cured.