The Comeback: Meet Anthony and JoAnn Wright

“The other place tried to kill the cancer, but they never treated the person. At City of Hope, there wasn’t one person we came across who didn’t address Anthony’s entire being. We felt so respected and protected.”
— JoAnn Wright

The tumor at the base of Anthony Wright’s spine had caused him tremendous pain for 10 weeks before it was identified in November 2018. Thanksgiving with his wife, JoAnn, and their adult children — bedside in the hospital — brought a second blow. The cancer had actually started in his lung and spread to his back.

Working with managed care doctors, Anthony would go through radiation, chemotherapy and a targeted cancer drug. Nothing seemed to work, and the physicians suggested that he move to end-of-life care.

That’s not the end of his story, though. Friends and family members suggested he go to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center called City of Hope.

Specialist Erminia Massarelli, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., refocused his treatment plan on the targeted drug, which had shown some effect. Meanwhile, expert surgeon Mike Y. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., removed the mass from his spine in a complicated procedure — an approach that Anthony’s previous doctors had refused to even try.

Soon, the pain in Anthony’s back and leg faded. His lung cancer continues to shrink away thanks to the medicine. With high-quality care, he and JoAnn have regained something invaluable: time together.

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