Before Harry Cashy of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, came to the OSUCCC – James for treatment of his neuroendocrine tumors — rare tumors that form in cells that release hormones — he had been through aggressive surgery to remove his spleen and pancreas. Most of the doctors tried hard to treat his rare cancer, but 10 years ago, although doctors knew what neuroendocrine tumors were, they were considered untreatable.
“I had four doctors tell me in 2004 that I had two years to live,” said Harry.
Then at the OSUCCC – James, he met Manisha Shah, MD, who was conducting clinical trials on neuroendocrine tumors. “I absolutely believe she is a wonderful human being,” Harry said. “Besides that, she is brilliant.”
Dr. Shah had been analyzing neuroendocrine tumors and how best to treat them for years, and is a world-renowned expert on the cancer.
Harry, who is now 53 years old, immediately entered a clinical trial at the OSUCCC – James. It helps that Harry’s wife, Maria, is an internist in Cleveland. She converses with Dr. Shah on Harry’s behalf at the physician level, and they have coordinated multiple treatments for him over the years.
After six months, Harry’s health improved, and Dr. Shah placed him on a new drug regimen that shrunk his tumors. He had three years of good health, until the tumors regrew. He was re-treated with the same drug regimen, again with positive results.
“Since I first went to Dr. Shah in 2006, she has been the constant, the guiding force in my care,” he said.
Today, approaching 10 years since his initial diagnosis, Harry owns a construction company and is “working like I’m 30 again, and that makes me happy.” Though busy, he’s more than willing to drive about two and a half hours from Chagrin Falls to Columbus every four months for his regular follow-up visits with Dr. Shah.
“If I have to spend a day every few months to make sure that in my mind, I have the best possible chance for a fight, I’m doing it,” said Harry. “I think OSU has put together a phenomenal neuroendocrine clinic. Dr. Shah is world-class, brilliant and caring.”