Courtney Brewster

Diagnosed in April 2014 at 21 years old

From Arizona

After a girl’s day out, Courtney woke up to extreme pain in her lower right abdomen so she went to urgent care.  After tests and a biopsy, the urgent care found that Courtney had a large mass on her liver and one near her heart.

In June, 2014, Mayo Clinic was unable to do a liver resection after a scope found more cancerous cells than expected on what was thought to be the healthy lobe.  The surgeon felt that she would probably never be a candidate and sent her to their oncologist.  The oncologist suggested that they could try different chemotherapy treatments to see which one might work in order to extend her life.

In July, 2014, Courtney and her family flew to Houston, Texas for testing and an evaluation with Dr. Kaseb and Dr. Aloia, at M D Anderson Cancer Center.  It was determined that surgery could not be done at that time but, if the tumors would respond to chemo and show any sign of shrinkage, then it could be a possibility.

Courtney had surgery to have her port implanted at Mayo and soon after started a 5fU and Interferon chemo regimen.  She began traveling every three months to Texas for CT scans while Mayo implemented and monitored her chemo treatments.  After two rounds of chemo, the tumors started showing a slight decrease in size and, after two more rounds, all tumors had shown 25% shrinkage, making Courtney a candidate for liver resection.

In November, 2014, Courtney, had a bi-lobed liver resection where 70% of her liver, the lymph node near her heart, her gall bladder, and 24 other lymph nodes were removed.  After staying most of the month in Texas, Courtney and her family returned home where she completed 12 rounds of 5fU and Interferon as preventative chemotherapy treatment.

Courtney had no signs of disease and was in remission for a year and three months and was treatment free for a total of eight months!

In February, 2016, Courtney had her first recurrence; a lymph node in her chest and a lesion outside the recto-sigmoid junction.  Courtney did four rounds of 5fU and Interferon to shrink everything down and in May, 2016, she was able to have the tumor at the recto-sigmoid junction surgically removed.

After recovering from that surgery, it was discovered that the size of the lymph node in her chest had doubled in size over the two months she had to be off chemo treatment in order to be operated on.  She was advised to undergo five more rounds of 5FU and Interferon, which she completed on September 7th.  Courtney will be traveling in order to be seen at M D Anderson Cancer Center next weekend, September 17 – 19, to determine if the node in the chest has shrunk enough for surgical removal.