Quest for the Cure

Reflections on the Evolution of Breast Cancer Treatment


  • George Blumenschein, Professor Emeritus, Oncology and Internal Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, TX, USA

This original fourteen chapter book is a brief, slightly autobiographic tale of medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and breast cancer patients in a well-established cancer center in Texas, who pursued the goal of cure for breast cancer. The evolution of improved outcomes in the treatment of microscopic metastatic breast cancer is also the story of the development of adjuvant chemotherapy for post-operative breast disease. The adjuvant therapy of breast cancer came about with the realization that this malignancy, when diagnosed in most patients, had spread beyond the confines of the primary cancer.
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Cancer researchers, oncologists, and cancer patient advocates


Book information

  • Published: October 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-420153-8


"In Texas, and perhaps in all the world, there are few cancer specialists as

widely regarded as Dr. George Blumenschein. Dr. Blumenschein worked

tirelessly to save my sister, Suzy, from this devastating disease. He brought

the same dedication to my breast cancer treatment several years later. His

book is important reading for anyone interested in understanding the sea of

change in breast cancer treatment over the past few decades, made possible

in part by one doctor’s vision and advocacy for people with this disease."

-Nancy G. Brinker, Founder, Susan G. Komen


"An authoritative, accurate, entertaining, and up-to-date summary of the

battle against breast cancer, from a leader in the development of our current

ability to control the disease. While Dr. Blumenschein is able to present the

clinical science, in an understandable way, he maintains the human element

with patient anecdotes, which he presents alongside the science."

-Emil J Freireich, M.D., D.Sc.(Hon.), Distinguished Teaching Professor, Director, Special

Medical Education Programs Director, Adult Leukemia Research Program, The University of

Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Table of Contents



Foreword - by Joni Rodgers


Chapter 1 - Anatomy of an Oncologist

Case Study - Janet - Highly Sensitive Measurable Metastatic Breast Cancer

Case Study - Susan - Importance of Axillary Node Involvement

Chapter 2 - Milestones along the Road to the Cure

Case Study - Sara - Liver Metastases

Chapter 3 - The Evolving Goal of Cure and Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Case Study - Martha - The Texas Challenge

Chapter 4 - Adjuvant Therapy Advances

Case Study - Joy - Stage IV NED as a Testing Ground for Adjuvant Therapy

Case Study - Carol - Metastasis to Cervical Vertebra

Case Study - Amy - Academia vs. Efficacy

Chapter 5 - Marching Forward

Case Study - Beatta - Second Guessing the System

Case Study - Lisa - The Patient of the Future

Conclusion - Where Do We Stand in the Quest for the Cure?


Milestones in Adjuvant Therapy

Breast Cancer Stages

Abbreviation Glossary