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Ethiopia Hailemicael, Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is committed to offering groundbreaking research to its patients. In this Research Spotlight, learn how Ethiopia has had no evidence of disease for more than six years, thanks to research at Comprehensive.

In August 2010, 35-year-old Ethiopia Hailemicael was experiencing pain from what she attributed to breastfeeding her young daughter.

Unfortunately, that was not the case.

The Ethiopia native and longtime Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center housekeeper had an ultrasound, mammogram and subsequent biopsy. She was diagnosed with a hormone negative, HER-2 positive tumor.

Adding to her immediate devastation of learning she had breast cancer, her father was on the final weeks of his life, battling lung cancer. Two weeks after her diagnosis, he passed away.

Shortly thereafter, she met her oncologist, Dr. Rupesh Parikh, a medical oncologist and the practice president at Comprehensive Cancer Centers. He had treated her father and made a promise to keep her alive.

Ethiopia began her chemotherapy program and also enrolled in a clinical trial in partnership with UCLA-TRIO US. The approach worked and, in early 2011, she was deemed cancer-free.

To stay proactive against a breast cancer recurrence, Ethiopia insisted on having a double mastectomy followed by nearly two months of radiation therapy. For a year, Ethiopia then took the monoclonal antibody therapy Herceptin and enjoyed nearly two years in full remission.

In May 2013, Ethiopia mentioned a sharp pain on her right side in a follow-up appointment with Dr. Parikh. Scans showed that her cancer returned and had spread to her liver and lungs categorizing it as stage IV.

After the initial shock, Ethiopia and Dr. Parikh jumped into action, beginning new chemotherapy treatments as well as Herceptin, this time in conjunction with a new therapy known as Pertuzumab.

With minimal side effects, Ethiopia yet again showed an immediate and amazing response. More than six years after her second cancer diagnosis, Ethiopia is continuing the treatment regimen, in addition to check-ups every few months.

Ethiopia is among Comprehensive’s incredible patients that have beaten cancer a second time. With the right treatments and incredible resolve, she is a case study for her trust in science and never, ever giving up.

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, visit or call 702-952-3350.

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