Aggressive Colon Cancer Treatment Now Offered In Chicago

A pump that can fit in the palm of your hand could be life-changing for many cancer patients.

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A one-of-a-kind cancer treatment is now being offered in Chicago.

It all has to do with a small pump that delivers chemotherapy to specific areas of the body.

Former Chicago Police Lt. Greg Whitmore was one of Northwestern Medicine’s first patients to use the pump.

“I run into people and they don’t even know you’re sick. They’re like, oh my God, I thought you were dying!” Whitmore said. “You look great, you look better than before!”

The Hepatic Arterial Infusion Pump (HAIP) is used as a regional treatment in the body, delivering up to 400 times the chemotherapy the body would get through traditional systemic chemotherapy treatment.

“Their prognosis is tied very closely to what happens in the liver. So, this therapy is treating that disease in the liver, so it doesn’t continue to grow,” said Dr. Ryan Merkow, the director of Northwestern Medicine's HAIP program.

Nearly two years ago, just months before Whitmore’s 50th birthday, the father of two was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that spread to his liver. Scans revealed 11 tumors inside Whitmore’s body.

“That’s devastating,” Whitmore said. “I got more to do! I don’t want to die today!”

Whitmore gets medication injected into his pump every two weeks.

He says it’s a small price to pay.

"What’s a day with your kids worth? Priceless to me!”

Whitmore’s tumors are now less than half the size they were less than two years ago.

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