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Mesothelioma Survivor

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Alice Fox is a sweet woman who loves her family dearly. Alice grew up in Northern Portland in a big house built by her father and grandfather. She was one of twelve children, six boys and six girls, and has lived in the Portland area for most of her 85 years. She is a proud mother of four, grandmother to eight, and great-grandmother to six girls.

Alice is a survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1969 in her left breast and again in 1983 in her right breast, both times she underwent mastectomies and did not receive radiation or chemotherapy. Thankfully, she has never had a recurrence. Alice says her siblings have all lived very long, healthy lives, and that is all she could hope for – at 85! Her older sister is also a breast cancer survivor. She celebrated her 90th birthday just last week.

In 2010, while being treated for a back condition, X-rays revealed the presence of fluid in Alice’s left lung. She had not been experiencing any pain or discomfort in her lungs so she was shocked by the finding.

Alice was referred to pulmonologist Dr. Jordan Fein and in September of 2010 he performed a left-sided thoracentesis to drain the fluid. Thoracic surgeon Dr. Andrew Tsen at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland subsequently performed a biopsy and the diagnosis came back as malignant pleural mesothelioma, epithelial cell type.

Alice was not a candidate for surgery, and was referred to oncologist Dr. Kasra Karamlou for chemotherapy. Six rounds of Alimta/Cisplatin chemotherapy later and the tumor was reduced in size. Alice’s condition remained stable for the next 15 months, until a routine CT scan in the summer of 2012 revealed some slight new growth of the tumor.

Fox's dog Suzy

Because it had been over a year since her first course of chemotherapy, Oncologist Dr. Robert Raisch of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute decided to treat the recurrence by administering a second course of Alimta/Cisplatin chemo. Alice is informed that she is among the very few mesothelioma patients to receive two courses of Alimta/Cisplatin chemo. She underwent four treatments beginning in September of 2012. She just had a CT scan a few weeks ago and her doctors are very pleased with how well she’s responded to the chemo – again!

Alice offers such a confident view on life, “I know I’m lucky, I’m doing great and I feel great.” Alice enjoys spending time with her 15 year old pooch Suzy, walking with friends, and listening to Frank Sinatra and Artie Shaw. Alice has a check-up scheduled for March. If given a clean bill of health, she plans to visit her daughter in Florida in the spring.

*** Posted on January 28, 2013 ***

*** Alice Fox passed away on September 8, 2014 ***