Living Cancer Free

New center promises comprehensive cancer care.

In 2010, sharp pain began ripping through Amie Lawton’s lower left abdomen. The pain shot through to her back, so her doctor blamed it on an existing back condition and prescribed pain medication. It didn’t help.

Dr. Gregory Hoang treated Amie Lawton for colorectal cancer at Cancer Care Centers of Brevard in Palm Bay. Dr. Pavan Kancharla discusses the new center in Palm Bay.

Amie Lawton

“My doctor ordered a CT scan and found a tumor,” recalls the mother of five. “The surgeon went in and removed it, and it was cancer. The surgeon also removed a big section of my colon. The cancer was a huge shock because I was only in my early thirties. That’s when my doctor brought in Dr. Hoang.”

Gregory Hoang, MD, is a board-certified medical oncologist at the Palm Bay location of Cancer Care Centers of Brevard. He specializes in treating cancer patients using medications such as chemotherapy, which is what he initially treated Amie’s cancer with.

“The chemotherapy got rid of the cancer, but it came back as a tumor on a lymph node in the center of my abdomen,” Amie explains. “Dr. Hoang suggested I participate in a clinical trial of a new chemotherapy drug, so I did. It worked. The tumor slowly shrank.”

“Amie received combined modalities for her colorectal cancer, including radiation and chemotherapy,” Dr. Hoang reports. “After she completed our treatment, we sent her to a tertiary center for surgery to remove the cancer. She had chemotherapy after surgery as well. We continue to see her now for follow-up CT scans and blood tests.”     

Easter Miracle

The original Palm Bay location of Cancer Care Centers of Brevard opened in 2012, providing chemotherapy services to the area. Now, Palm Bay has a new center offering a more complete range of services.

“We opened the new center, in part, due to changes in the chemotherapy environment,” explains V. Pavan Kancharla, MD, board-certified medical oncologist and internist at Cancer Care Centers of Brevard. “Today, we need specialized areas for mixing chemotherapy because of the hazards involved in the mixing process.

“At our new Palm Bay facility, we have a closed system called USP-800 that we use for mixing chemotherapy. This system is used to mix chemotherapy for our other locations as well.”

Another reason for opening the new location is to create a comprehensive center in Palm Bay.

“There were no radiation services at the old Palm Bay facility,” Dr. Kancharla notes. “But we have plans to build a radiation center at our new location. We hope to have that completed within the next two years.”

Once Amie’s tumor shrank, it was removed by surgery on Easter weekend 2014. The combined procedures were curative.

“This year marks five years I’m cancer free,” Amie raves. “Now, I just have routine scans every so often to make sure it doesn’t come back. So far, everything’s been fine.

“Now, I’m doing great. I’m here and cancer free!”

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