Sandy Lymburner – Saint Joseph Mercy Health System


Women Who Move Detroit – 2019 – Special Section

Clinical Trials Advocate


Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Southeast Michigan  (888) 474-HOPE

Sandy Lymburner, 57, helped change the course of breast cancer treatment for future generations of women.

Lymburner was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. She knew chemotherapy was part of her treatment plan, but her medical oncologist surprisingly suggested she might be able to bypass chemotherapy altogether.

Dr. Philip Stella had sent her breast tumor samples for molecular testing and found that she was a good candidate for the groundbreaking TAILORx trial. Lymburner enrolled in the study, and her genomic test came back very favorable, which meant she did not have to receive chemotherapy as part of her treatment.

Due to the findings from the trial published in June 2018, the National Cancer Institute concluded that there is no benefit from chemotherapy for many women with early stage breast cancer and low to intermediate risk scores. Researchers say this new data will help inform future treatments for many women with breast cancer.

Because Lymburner made the brave choice to join a clinical trial, she — and thousands of other women — helped improve the breadth of breast cancer treatments for women in metro Detroit and nationwide.

As a member of the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Program, St. Joe’s leads the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, a network of 13 hospitals that enrolls 1,500 patients in clinical trials each year. St. Joe’s offers patients local access to national clinical trials from top centers such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic, and Memorial Sloan Kettering, with 100 trials open at any given time.

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