Stanford Tackles Tough Tumors Once Thought Beyond Treatment


I just knew they were doctors at Stanford, and that people come to them from all over the world.

-Michelle Perea, cancer patient, Stanford Hospital & Clinics

When Perea was diagnosed and told nothing could be done, her youngest child was just 2 years old. After the first surgery, a never before done procedure, removed an 11-pound tumor from her abdomen, her cancer returned three years later. Stanford surgeons went in again to remove that tumor, too.

Perea's mother, Diane Lawson (left), has been an important part of her recovery from two cancer surgeries, ground-breaking approaches made possible because two Stanford surgeons pooled their expertise.

It almost seemed as though he was thinking, 'She's only 38 years old. We have to try and do something - we have to do these things that seem impossible.'

-Michelle Perea, cancer patient, Stanford Hospital & Clinics

With her tumor removed, Michelle Perea knows she has gained more time with her family: son, Diego, 6; husband, Mike; daughters Sophia, 14, and Olivia, 16, and Allejandra, 8.


- The Stanford Cancer Institute coordinates basic research, development of new therapies, clinical trials, patient care, screening, prevention, education, community outreach and psycho-social support. It also houses a tumor registry.

- The Stanford Clinical Cancer Center is focused on patient care. It offers 12 disease-specific management programs and a full range of specialists in BMT, breast, cutaneous, gastrointestinal, gynecologic, head and neck, hematology, lymphoma, neuro, sarcoma, thoracic, urologic and radiation oncology.  Cancer care at the Center is based on a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach.

- Stanford's Cancer Supportive Care Program provides educational and support activities designed to ease the side-effects of cancer and its treatment and to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their caregivers. These activities include psychosocial support, exercise, complementary and alternative medicine classes and counseling on nutrition, fatigue reduction and pain management. All activities are free and open to the public.

- Advanced cancer treatments at Stanford include cutting edge surgical techniques such as laparoscopic liver tumor resection and VATS lobectomy for lung cancer. Stanford was one of the first five treatment centers in the world to have the TrueBeam STX, one of the fastest and most accurate radiation therapy machines in the world.

For more information about cancer care at Stanford, please phone 650-498-6000 or visit

It's just old thinking that if a sarcoma has invaded a major blood vessel, that there's nothing you can do but give patients palliative therapy.

-E. John Harris, vascular surgeon, Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Video Transcript