Ohio Woman Makes Sacrifice to Advance Treatment

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Kimberly L. Koss, a recently retired employee of the University of Cincinnati, has made an unprecedented and historic sacrifice for the furthering of breast cancer research. Koss, who is 57 years old and has a rare form of breast cancer, has decided to skip a preoperative round of chemotherapy in order to preserve the cancer cells that will be removed during her mastectomy.

Koss’ motivation to do such a thing comes from the fact her form of cancer is rare. She is afflicted with an aggressive type of triple negative breast cancer. Known for being particularly hard to treat, many triple negative tumors hardly respond to any standard breast cancer medications, though radiation has been shown to aid in their removal.

Were Koss to undergo chemotherapy prior to her mastectomy, she would have a higher chance of survival. However, the triple negative cell growth in her breast would, in all likelihood, die when removed from the body. Because her cancer cells are particularly aggressive, they are likely to survive outside of the body if she abstains from chemotherapy. Effectively, Koss is giving medical researchers a prime set of cells for growth in research cultures.

Koss indicated that she hopes her sacrifice can pave the way for research to benefit future breast cancer patients and, potentially, even her. 

“That’s something that will protect the future for my daughter, my grandchildren and my future great-grandchildren,” Koss told The Star Press. “The sequel to this story will be the vaccine, and I hope to be the first recipient.”

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