Patient Tina Deeg hugs Dr. Malinda West.

Breast cancer clinical trial gives woman reasons to celebrate

UW Health 

Daniel and Tina Deeg

Daniel and Tina Deeg

Today, Tina Deeg is celebrating her 52nd birthday with a lot of energy and hope. This birthday feels a world away from her birthday two years ago, she said.

“On my birthday in 2021 I had a mammogram that found an abnormal lump,” she said. “After several tests, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.”

Specifically, she was diagnosed with stage 4, hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and liver.

“I gave myself a little time to cry, then I knew we had to get to work,” she said.

Deeg, who lives in Appleton, Wis., received several chemotherapy treatments at a local clinic until the tumors had shrunk enough to enable her to have a radiation procedure called Y-90 in August 2022.

Unfortunately, the cancer began to progress at the beginning of 2023. Deeg was told that her only option for treatment would be an aggressive form of chemotherapy.

“I really didn’t want to go that route,” she said. “I didn’t want to feel weak and sick and lose my hair, not this year.”

Deeg was not only going to be a bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding in 2023, but she was also planning her own summer wedding.

Deeg and her family began looking for alternative cancer care options. With guidance from her employer Tim Bergstrom, and assistance from a friend who worked in health care, she was referred to UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center for a second opinion.

In February, Deeg met with Dr. Malinda West, medical oncologist and assistant professor of oncology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“We felt Dr. West’s warmth and compassion immediately,” Deeg said. “Plus, she thought she knew about a clinical trial I would be a good fit to join.” Read more …