Navigation Links
Surgeon Battling Own Cancer Developed New Treatment

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The bump on his left ear looked innocent enough. At 33 and just two years out of surgical specialty training, craniofacial and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Stephen Cantrell was consumed with teaching and practicing in a busy university hospital. Then came the biopsy results: the little nuisance was in fact malignant melanoma. Life changed overnight.

After the first round of surgical procedures, Cantrell enrolled in a clinical trial testing a cancer vaccine. The melanoma recurred anyway, and more surgery followed. Interferon was next but to no avail.

A year later the cancer changed into a much more aggressive form and began shooting new tumors around his neck and chest with alarming speed. Doctors then advised that his condition would deteriorate rapidly and he probably had about six weeks left to live. "They told me to find a nice beach somewhere and enjoy a few sunsets," Cantrell remembered. "I said no. I worked with some great surgeons, and they were willing to get me on the table the next day whenever a new metastasis popped up."

The surgeries to fight the new metastases were frequent. "Those were dark days," he continued. "I was getting my neck or chest sliced open sometimes every two or three weeks. At one point I had to stick a large needle in my own neck twice a day to drain the fluid buildup." It still wasn't enough.

In July 2000 he underwent yet another selective neck dissection, but two weeks later there were new tumors deeper in the neck. "I had access to some of the most prominent doctors in the field," Cantrell explained, "but there really wasn't anything else they could offer. At that point, nothing works." Realizing he was out of treatment options, he knew he would have to step into the unknown to fight any further.

He went back to the medical literature, searching for any reasonable thing that was too new to have been fully tested or perhaps had been overlooked. There was nothing. Finally, he took an educated guess that a combination of lovastatin and interferon might have a shot at working.

He was criticized sharply by most of his doctors; they urged him to quit making his own treatment decisions and go with the standard drugs, even though they held no real potential. Instead Cantrell decided that his only hope was to do something he would never ask of anyone else: experiment on himself with a completely untested treatment. "At that point there was nothing to lose," he explained. "As it stood I was going to be dead very soon, so any potential at all made it a risk worth taking." He continued keeping careful notes and became the guinea pig for the new technique.

Not even he was prepared for what happened next. After four weeks of the new combination, scans showed no remaining evidence of cancer. The radiologist assumed that the neck metastases had been surgically removed; their disappearance with a simple drug regimen was unthinkable. "I don't know what you did," he said, "but you're clean."

That was nine years and two weeks ago, and there has been no evidence of cancer since. (Cantrell continues to take low maintenance doses of both medicines.) Others soon began to seek him out and request the same regimen. Similar results were seen in additional patients battling melanoma and pancreatic cancer. Patients with mesothelioma and colon cancer have also seen very beneficial responses.

Ultimately Cantrell decided that the treatment had to be offered on a wider scale. Leaving his surgical career, he devoted his full-time work to developing the interferon/lovastatin treatment. "Oncologists are out there working their hearts out," he said, "but in most cases the best tools they have just aren't enough. We're still pumping most cancer patients full of near-lethal toxins, while we search for something better."

For selected patients, he decided he might have something better. He now has opened NeoPlas Innovation in Nashville to offer the combination "off-label" treatment on an outpatient basis. Cantrell said, "It's not for everyone. We screen patients carefully to make sure they're not skipping another treatment they should be using." He added, "So far the results have been very exciting, and expansion of the work definitely is warranted." Eventually he hopes to implement formal clinical trials with the new technique, but he emphasized that bringing help to individual patients will always be the first priority.

"I give thanks every day for being alive," Cantrell said. "And every time we can share that with someone else, that's a pretty good day."

Interested patients can learn more about Dr. Cantrell's work by visiting or calling (615) 371-8100.

SOURCE NeoPlas Innovation
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. LA Daily News Readers' vote Dr. Khanna as the Best LASIK Surgeon
2. Video: Yoplait(R) and Celebrity Breast Cancer Surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk Emphasize Importance of Early Detection and Risk Reduction
3. Native Chicago Plastic Surgeon Opens New Cosmetic Surgery Practice
4. Leading Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon Features Extreme Patient Makeover on The Doctors
5. Columbia, South Carolina Plastic Cosmetic Surgeon Gives his Website a State-of-the-Art Lift
6. U.S. Faces Shortage of Heart Surgeons
7. Plastic surgeons should be part of disaster relief planning, response
8. Statement from the American College of Surgeons Regarding Growing Democrat Support for Medical Liability Reform to be Included in Health Care Reform
9. Phoenix Cardiovascular Surgeon, David J. Caparrelli, M.D. Becomes Member of the Society for Vascular Surgery
10. Spinal Implant Developed by Sanford Clinic Neurosurgeon Receives FDA 510(k) Market Clearance as a Lumbar Intervertebral Body Fusion Device
11. Spinal Implant Developed by Sanford Clinic Neurosurgeon Receives FDA 510(k) Market Clearance as a Lumbar Intervertebral Body Fusion Device
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dr. John ... to learn more about hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser therapy cap. ... solution for thicker and fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription pills, or ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... TX (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... For ... the companies’ “ Two Organizations, One Beat ” campaign. The partnership between the two ... services to aid in MAP International’s cause. , MAP International was founded in 1954 ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Dental professionals who would like to become more proficient ... attend Dr. Mark Iacobelli’s Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM) CE course. Courses will be held ... the co-founders of Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM), Dr. Iacobelli and Dr. D’Orazio are proud ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... The McHenry County ... recent successful appellate decision obtained by Attorneys Francisco J. Botto and Alex C. Wimmer. ... Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2015 IL App (2d) 130884WC. , According to court documents, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... SCOTTSDALE, ... facial plastic surgeon specializing in both surgical and non-surgical treatments, announced the expansion ... at Hobgood Facial Plastic Surgery. , Highly trained and nationally recognized for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Care Market by Type (Dressings, Therapy Devices, Active Wound ... Out-Patient Facility), and Geography - Global Forecast to 2020" ... --> --> The purpose of this ... of the global advanced wound care market. It involves ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), ... the March of Dimes cheered today,s signature into ... Act of 2015 (S.799), which takes much-needed ... exposed to drugs, such as opioids, and to ... three organizations have worked together leading advocacy efforts ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: