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Shame of a Nation
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The Culprit is Cancer

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Fall 1998
The Culprit is Cancer
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On July 31, 1996, Rinde entered the Phase III trial and was randomized to the group of women who received Herceptin only. (Other groups received Herceptin and conventional chemotherapy or conventional chemotherapy alone.)

A CT scan in March 1997 showed possible spots on her liver; her bone cancer was progressing, too. For a while everyone worried. But since then Rinde's liver has been clear, and her bone cancer has regressed considerably. "I had great expectations from the beginning," she says.

Rinde is sitting outside on a bench now, in the pretty courtyard behind the clinic. A huge spray of red begonias is in bloom. It's a beautiful Los Angeles spring day. The sky is deep blue, the air is bracing, clear. As his mother watches him, Corey toddles along a low wall, babbling in a strange language.

When the child gets near the fountain, Rinde reaches into her wallet and pulls out some coins. Then she reaches her palm out to her third child, the one she unself-consciously calls "God's gift."

"Make a wish," Lori Rinde says.

Last year, on the day before Thanksgiving, Slamon was at home when he got an unexpected phone call. It was Dr. Steve Shak, the study coordinator at Genentech. He wanted, he said rather mysteriously, to meet with Slamon right away.

"Would you mind telling me what this is about?" Slamon asked.

"I'd prefer to tell you in person," Shak said.

"It's already late afternoon today and tomorrow's Thanksgiving," said Slamon. "How about Monday?"

The caller insisted that he must see Slamon sooner.

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