Patricia NicolasApr 14, 2017, 8:32 pmApr 15, 2017, 6:35 am

Medford man beats throat cancer with new treatment tested at local hospital

Patients undergo immunotherapy to strengthen immune system before surgery

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A Suffolk County man participated in a clinical treatment that he says helped him beat throat cancer.

Medford resident Chris Burian considers himself a pretty healthy guy. The 48-year-old father of two is not a smoker, runs his own business and lives an active lifestyle. That's why he says he was shocked in January of 2015 when he discovered a lump on his throat the size of a grape and soon after found out he had throat cancer. He says he never experienced major symptoms leading up to his diagnosis.

Chris considered his options. He was looking for a procedure that wasn't too invasive. He turned to Dr. Brett Miles at the Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Miles noticed the cancer had spread to three of Chris’s lymph nodes. Chris had surgery to remove the cancer and participated in a clinical treatment called immunotherapy. Mount Sinai Hospital is the only in the country testing the new treatment.

“They have two doses of the immune therapy before surgery with the idea being that we ramp up the immune system before the surgical episode and that way, the immune system is already revved up to target these cells before the surgery,” Dr. Miles explained.

Today, only a scar on Chris’s neck remains where the cancer once was. Chris returns to the hospital every few months to ensure the cancer does not return. As for the immunotherapy, Chris says it was well worth the try.

The hospital says so far, eight patients have participated in this trial to date and all cases have been a success. Chris hopes this treatment will be breakthrough for throat cancer in the coming years.

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