TAMPA - For Verna Synder, she's had some great triumphs since being diagnosed with an incurable form of advanced breast cancer.
There have been many, like paddling with the Pink Dragon Ladies in an international competition, completing a triathlon and living to see another grand baby born. These are all milestones she didn't think she'd live to see.
"Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread all over your body. In my case, I had cancer in just about every vertebrae in my spine, my hip, my femur, my pelvis bone, and then it went into my liver. They had given they gave me five to six years to live," Synder said.
But eight years, later she's still here. How?
"I had tried four prior treatments and my oncologist office had offered me an opportunity to go on this study drug and I agreed I would be a guinea pig and said yes," she said.
Her doctor is David Wright of Florida Cancer Specialists.
"Verna wouldn't be with us anymore, but she is and she's alive and well and in complete remission," he said.
Dr Wright said Synder's experience makes a case for enrolling in clinical trials.
Florida Cancer Specialists have around 100 clinical trials ongoing in the state right now - for all types of cancer patients.
"The old way of giving chemotherapy was to give napalm, let's destroy everything in sight. Now cancer is shifting toward trying to treat a focus of the disease and not kill everything. So these trials allow the evolution of these drugs to be less toxic and more effective," Dr. Wright said.
For more information on clinical trials: