Rural Outreach Brings Clinical Trials to Patients

In 2009, during a routine mammogram, a small mass was discovered in Mary Elise Samson’s left breast. “I was surprised when they told me they found a lump,” recalled Mary Elise, a retired teacher living in Ste. Genevieve. “Because of its size and location, I couldn’t feel it during my self-exam.”

News No One Wants To Hear

Immediately after her mammogram, she was scheduled for a breast biopsy. “The results indicated that I had Stage I breast cancer,” Mary Elise said. She had surgery a few weeks later to remove the small mass.

Because her mother also had breast cancer, Mary Elise was familiar with the disease and wasn’t nervous as she began treatment. “Thirty years ago, my mother was diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer when she was 58 years old, which was about my age when I was diagnosed,” she recalled. “My mother had a total mastectomy and was treated with chemotherapy.”

After her diagnosis and surgery, Mary Elise was referred to Dr. Alan Lyss by her surgeon in Ste. Genevieve. Dr. Lyss is the endowed director of Cancer Research at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Rural Outreach

As part of MoBap's ongoing commitment to serving rural communities, Dr. Lyss travels twice a month to Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital and said, “I’m very proud of our rural affiliations in Sullivan, Farmington and Ste. Genevieve.”

Through partnerships with hospitals in these communities, MoBap brings the same medical oncology, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and clinical trial access that the hospital offers at its main campus to patients living outside of the immediate St. Louis area.

“Patients don’t have to travel far from home to receive the high-quality cancer care associated with our National Cancer Institute-designated Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP),” Dr. Lyss explained. “We bring the latest diagnostic tools and treatment options right to them. It’s a real convenience and increases the value of their care.”

“When I met with Dr. Lyss, he put me at ease,” Mary Elise said. “We talked about different treatment options, and he told me about ongoing research studies and clinical trials for breast cancer that I might qualify for.”

Clinical Trial Participation

Through Heartland Cancer Research NCORP, Missouri Baptist Cancer Center participates in more than 75 National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored clinical trials. Cancer patients treated by MoBap physicians are screened to see if they can take part in any available trials.

The early stage of her breast cancer qualified Mary Elise to participate in the TAILORx (Trial Assigning IndividuaLized Options for Treatment [Rx]) clinical trial. According to the NCI, TAILORx studied the effects of chemotherapy on early-stage breast cancer with the hopes of sparing women chemotherapy if it was not likely to be of substantial benefit.

“I was categorized into the intermediate group of the trial,” Mary Elise explained. “I received hormone therapy to reduce my estrogen levels, as well as radiation.” The group to which she was assigned did not receive chemotherapy.

“I’m proud that we can offer clinical trial enrollment to Mary Elise and other patients in our rural communities,” Dr. Lyss said. “Trial participation is critical for advancing the standard of care and improving survival rates for the disease.”

Cancer Didn’t Slow Her Down

Mary Elise’s positive outlook propelled her through treatment. “I knew that the hormone therapy and radiation were something I had to go through, so that’s what I did,” she remembered.

Throughout her treatment, Mary Elise was also able to keep her volunteer commitments at the World Bird Sanctuary, where she helps band birds for migratory studies. “I completed my final radiation dose in time to attend the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California, and help handle the birds for the Sanctuary’s float,” she said.

After finishing radiation therapy, Mary Elise continued her hormone regimen for eight years before doctors determined that she could safely stop treatment.

Celebrating Remission

Currently celebrating eight years in remission, Mary Elise is thankful for the care and services she received from Dr. Lyss and the MoBap team.

“Meeting Dr. Lyss and being able to take advantage of MoBap’s wide range of services and resources from my home in Ste. Genevieve influenced the course of my treatment,” she said. “I’m glad that my positive experience is part of the TAILORx clinical trial results.”

Related Content

Find a Doctor or Make an Appointment

Our new search tool will help you choose a doctor or health care provider that is best for you or your family.

Search Now

Thumbnail of landing page of the MoBap Cancer Research website

Cancer Research - the leading edge of finding a cure.

Missouri Baptist is part of Heartland Cancer Research, one of 34 community networks that comprise the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Palliative Care: Helping Patients Live Their Best Lives

Lynn’s husband Steve was diabetic and diagnosed with end stage renal disease 11 years ago. Without warning, Steve’s condition turned critical three years ago. Desperate for guidance and strength, Lynn was connected to April and the Palliative Care team at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

New Patients and Family Information

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Giving Back - Theresa's Story

Read how Theresa gives back to others.
Thousands of cancer survivors are living proof that cancer can be treated successfully and people can go on to live fulfilling, happy and healthy lives. 

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Racing the Clock: Treating Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer affects an estimated 38,000 people each year in the United States. The best results with treatment are achieved when surgery is used for removal of the tumor.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right
Alissa Nicks, founder of Alissa’s Hope, presents her fourth annual gift of $5,000 to MoBap’s Breast HealthCare Center (BHCC).

Donations from Alissa’s Hope Provide Financial Help for Patients

Alissa Nicks, founder of Alissa’s Hope, and Dan Schultz, a volunteer with Alissa’s Hope, continued the charity's tradition of providing funds for screenings that can save lives, awarding grants to two MoBap cancer screening programs.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Cancer Support Center

Our Cancer Support Center at the Cancer Center at Missouri Baptist focuses on cancer diagnosis, treatment, emotional support and community resources.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment & Genetic Counseling

The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment & Genetic Counseling Program at Missouri Baptist Medical Center provides comprehensive breast cancer screenings and customized surveillance plan for patients with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Should You be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Often the disease does not show symptoms until it has progressed to advanced stages, when it is difficult to treat and chances of survival decrease. A low-radiation-dose CT scan can detect lung cancer at its earliest stages, making treatment both easier and more effective.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right
Prostate cancer  is the most common form of cancer in men. According to the  American Cancer Society, one in nine  men will be diagnosed with prostate  cancer during his lifetime. It is a statistic that Craig Siegel never expected he'd be among.

Living with Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. According to the American Cancer Society, one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Rural Outreach Brings Clinical Trials to Patients

Patients like Mary Elise, a retired teacher in Ste. Genevieve, can take part in advanced clinical research thanks to the Missouri Baptist Cancer Center involvement with the Heartland Cancer Research NCORP. As part of the TAILORx trial, Mary Elise help researchers studying the effects of chemotherapy on early-state cancer.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

An Inside Look

Since launching in November 2014, the Missouri Baptist Medical Center Computed Tomography (CT) Lung Cancer Screening has screened 2,594 people for early-stage lung cancer. Forty-six of them had cancer. 

David Patton is one of those. Read how the nurse navigator assisted him through the program.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Bring down the swelling (and your stress).

Lymphedema is a type of chronic swelling that can occur if there is damage to the lymphatic system or if the lymphatic system becomes overloaded by excess fluid due to infection or other medical issues, such as surgery, radiation or trauma to the lymph vessels. 

As the first and only National Lymphedema Network  Affiliate Treatment Center in the St. Louis area, find out how the Center for Outpatient Therapy and Wellness can help.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Advanced Treatment When You Need It Most

Missouri Baptist Cancer Center is committed to offering patients the most advanced treatment and surgical options available. As early adopters of new technology, Missouri Baptist Cancer Center offers both  RapidArc™ Therapy and the da Vinci® Surgical System.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Rapid Referral

We understand that every second counts in the fight against cancer. With every cancer diagnosis comes a host of possible emotional responses:  uncertainty, anger, and most of all – fear.  That is why we see patients within 48 hours after referral to our Cancer Center.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Meet the MoBap Cancer Care Team

You’ll be glad to know that the physicians at Missouri Baptist Cancer Center are all leading cancer specialists. Our physician team includes board-certified specialists that are involved in investigational research and use the latest diagnostic and treatment options for our cancer patients.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Take 5 for Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world; yet recent research shows most people know very little about the disease. Did you know that more people in the United States die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer?

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Cancer Registry Report 2017

The Cancer Registry is known for its substantial supportive role in the Missouri Baptist Medical Center’s Cancer Program. The Registry works with physicians, administrators, healthcare providers and planners to provide support for cancer program development, to ensure compliance to regulatory reporting requirements and standards, and to serve as a primary resource for cancer information and statistical information.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right

Cancer Registry Report 2018

The Cancer Registry is known for its substantial supportive role in the Missouri Baptist Medical Center’s Cancer Program. The Registry works with physicians, administrators, healthcare providers and planners to provide support for cancer program development, to ensure compliance to regulatory reporting requirements and standards, and to serve as a primary resource for cancer information and statistical information.

Learn More keyboard_arrow_right