Beyond Standard

Eau Gallie center expands services for cancer patient.

In 2017, medical aesthetician Victoria Hicks, 35, discovered a lump in her right breast. At first, it appeared to be a benign growth. Then it grew into an 8-cm mass. A series of tests revealed the Springfield, Virginia native and mother of one had Stage III HER2-positive breast cancer.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Victoria enjoys playing basketball with her son, Jaxson.

Following her diagnosis, Victoria was referred to the Eau Gallie location of Cancer Care Centers of Brevard in Melbourne. That’s where she met Sumeet Chandra, MD, a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist who specializes in treating cancer patients using medications such as chemotherapy.

“When I met with Dr. Chandra, he had already spoken with my general surgeon,” Victoria says. “They had a whole game plan ready for me. Dr. Chandra got things moving really quickly. Within a week of my diagnosis, I had a chemotherapy port put in, and within two weeks, I was getting my first chemotherapy treatment.”

The care given to Victoria came in the wake of a recent expansion of services by the Eau Gallie center. Now in its tenth year of service overall, the Eau Gallie center joined forces with Cancer Care Centers of Brevard two years ago, primarily in an effort to offer an even wider range of care to the community.

Participation Ramp-Up

“Currently, we administer chemotherapy, but we’ve also added several ancillary services that we’re excited about,” Dr. Chandra describes. “We now have acupuncture and physical therapy, and we work very closely with a clinical psychologist.

“We don’t offer radiation oncology at our center, but if patients require radiation therapy, we refer them to radiation oncologists that are partners with Cancer Care Centers of Brevard at multiple locations.”

One program that will grow significantly through Eau Gallie’s partnership with Cancer Care Centers of Brevard is clinical trials. The Eau Gallie center has some experience with clinical trials, but they will be able to ramp up their participation as part of the larger practice.

“Clinical trials really advance the science of oncology, which is changing all the time,” Dr. Chandra observes. “It’s always good to be a part of that change and offer new treatments that go beyond the standard of care for patients who’ve tried everything else. We should have a pretty robust clinical trial program within the next year or so.”

Dr. Chandra chose a standard form of treatment for Victoria, treating her with chemotherapy ahead of her eventual surgery. He chose that route, he says, because of the large size of the tumor, and the approach worked as intended. Dr. Chandra reports that following surgery, no evidence of active cancer was found in Victoria.

“I just got my latest tumor marker blood test, and there’s no evidence of disease,” Victoria enthuses. “That really improves my survival rate. Now, I’ll just see Dr. Chandra every six months for four years for check-ups.”

Victoria believes Dr. Chandra’s kind and supportive manner helped her get through her treatment, both physically and emotionally.

“I loved how much time Dr. Chandra spent with me and how he answered all of my questions,” she says. “And no matter how much anxiety I had going into treatment, I felt better when I left because Dr. Chandra gave me hope.

“The mind is a powerful tool,” she adds, “and Dr. Chandra and the chemotherapy nurses at the Eau Gallie center really helped put me in the right mindset for my treatment. That’s the key to a successful outcome.”

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    • Cancer Care Centers of Brevard

      For over 25 years, their mission has been to provide a compassionate setting for patients and their families. They believe in the dignity of all patients living with cancer and respect their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. At Cance... Read More

    • Sumeet Chandra, MD

      Sumeet Chandra, MD, is board certified in medical oncology and hematology. He earned his medical degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. He completed a residency and a fellowship at State University of New York, Stony Brook. His ... Read More