Cancer researcher calls Cordillera home |

Cancer researcher calls Cordillera home

Scott N. Miller

The Eagle Valley doesn’t often end up on the pages of the “New England Journal of Medicine.” The most recent issue of the journal is the exception to that rule.

Dr. Stephen E. Jones, a cancer specialist who calls Cordillera home, is part of an international team that had a study regarding a potential breakthrough in breast cancer treatment published in the prestigious journal.

The results of the seven-year study indicate a new drug, exemestane, dramatically increases survival time of patients who have been treated for breast cancer. The study also indicates exemestane helps prevent recurrence of the disease in women who had been using tamoxifen, the standard drug used to treat breast cancer patients.

With about 1.5 million women around the world currently being treated with tamoxifen, Jones said increasing survival rates by more than 30 percent, as the study indicates, “Has the potential to save thousands of lives.”

Jones has been a cancer specialist for more than 30 years. He was the first oncologist in the Houston area to specialize in breast cancer treatment. These days, Jones maintains a small practice in Dallas and is the medical director for U.S. Oncology Research, a publicly-traded company with its headquarters in Houston.

Jones has now made his home in Cordillera for the last three years. Jones and his wife, Janet, “discovered” the Eagle Valley while in the area for a conference in Snowmass. “We just fell in love with the place,” Jones said.

At first, Jones came to Colorado with the intent of slowing down a bit after more than 30 years in medicine, but his schedule is still pretty hectic. Jones said he travels a lot, something easy access to Dallas from the Eagle County Regional Airport makes possible. In addition, he can confer with colleagues and patients electronically.

While Jones doesn’t see patients locally, his company does. The Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards contracts for services with the Denver office of U.S. Oncology.

And local residents will have a chance to get know Jones a bit better this summer at the 10th annual Celebration of Life Luncheon sponsored by the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group. The luncheon is set for Wednesday, July 14 at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.

“We’re really excited to have him,” said group board member Kristin Williams. “I know we’re going to hear lots of great information.”

For Jones, the July event will be a few months removed from a recent flurry of excitement regarding exemestane, which goes under the brand name Armomasin.

“I’ve had my two minutes on CNN,” Jones said. “It was really a production. You’re on for two minutes and it takes a lot more to get on the air.”

Which is a bit like the work required to get the exemestane study published in the New England Journal, he said. “It took us seven years to get this done,” Jones said. “These are very long-term things.”

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