Jolie Woods has an amazing smile and an amazing head of hair, both in spite of the fact she's fighting stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
"I've kicked butt," she said. Two years ago, Woods found a large lump which grew rapidly to 7.7 millimeters. Dr. Anu Thummala of Comprehensive Cancer Centers got right to work.
"When we find the tumor and it spreads rapidly to the bone it indicates that it's an aggressive tumor. Those are the patients we want to get active on treatment, and treat them sooner than later," said Dr. Thummala.
There is no standard treatment for metastatic breast cancer so Dr. Thummala tailored various chemotherapies around Woods' symptoms.
"So I chose, because her cancer was growing so fast, I chose chemo along with this vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitor called Levastin. She did very well," Dr. Thummala said.
The two drugs, Avastin and Paclitaxel, slowed the tumor's growth but Woods' cancer had spread to her bones. Woods' treatment now consists of anti-estrogen hormone therapy. She takes Femara every day.
"Just taking it one day at a time. Don't overdo it. Watch what I'm doing. Because I can't like fall down cause that'll be bad for the bones," she said.
Dr. Thummala is amazed by Woods' attitude. Despite her bone pain, Woods works 40 hours a week, watches her diet and keeps up with her friends and family.
"On a daily basis I could hide in my bed, under my covers. I don't want to do that."
Woods urges all women to overcome their fears and get regular mammograms, and do your self-exams in between.