Alan Hernandez, Stage 1 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is committed to offering groundbreaking research to its patients. In this Research Spotlight, learn how Alen’s cancer journey is helping find more treatment options for patients with lung cancer.

Alan Hernandez and his wife moved to Las Vegas from Texas three years ago to help take care of his granddaughters while his daughter was studying to become a nurse.

In late 2019, Alan had a routine colonoscopy at a local hospital. Before the procedure, he completed routine scans as well, and his doctors noticed a suspicious node on the scan report. They ordered more in-depth testing, along with a biopsy to investigate the abnormality.

The 70-year-old grandfather of three was then diagnosed with Stage I non-small cell lung cancer. Following skin cancer, lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in both men and women. An estimated 2,080 Nevadans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year alone.

Additionally, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, making up 25% of all cancer deaths. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

However, the rate of lung cancer diagnoses is decreasing due to more people quitting smoking. Alan was a former smoker as well, ditching the habit in 2013.

After being diagnosed, Alan was referred to Comprehensive Cancer Centers, where he met Dr. Fadi Braiteh, a medical oncologist, and Dr. Dan Curtis, a radiation oncologist. The doctors explored multiple treatment options but landed on a cutting-edge technology: CyberKnife paired with a research trial.

Comprehensive is the only location in Southern Nevada to offer CyberKnife to its patients. CyberKnife is a painless, non-invasive surgery alternative that uses computer-operated robotics and image guidance technology to treat hard-to-reach tumors. Alan qualified as a candidate for CyberKnife and underwent three treatments with no pain or side effects.

Now cancer-free after CyberKnife, Alan’s next challenge has become clear: lowering his risk of recurrence. Dr. Braiteh and Dr. Curtis recommended a new clinical trial for CyberKnife patients, a form of immunotherapy aimed at mitigating the risk of a second cancer diagnosis. The drug used in the trial, PACIFIC 4, is typically used when treating Stage III and Stage IV lung cancer. The trial will test the same treatment on early-stage lung cancer patients to prevent recurrence.

Alan considers himself lucky to have overcome a lung cancer diagnosis so quickly with none of the side effects that typically come with chemotherapy. While participating in the clinical trial, he feels it’s the least he can do to give back and help future cancer patients find the right treatment.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers has partnered with some of the world’s most recognizable research and cancer-fighting organizations, including The US Oncology Network, UCLA TRIO-US, USC, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and leading pharmaceutical companies to offer groundbreaking research to its patients. The practice participates in more than 170 Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III clinical research studies each year and has played a role in developing more than 100 FDA-approved cancer therapies.

For more information on the practice’s latest trials, click here or call 702-952-3350.