Georgia's Online Cancer Information Center

Tamara Lopata: "Participating in a clinical trial was a way to take back my power. I felt like being on a clinical trial put me in control."

Tamara Lopata

Tamara was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 47th birthday. “Just a few months before I found the lump, I had a feeling something was going to change in my life. Of course, I didn’t expect a diagnosis of breast cancer! I had no family history of the disease and I kept up with my annual mammograms. But, when I found this lump I knew it was something different.”

According to Tamara, her team of doctors moved very quickly. Dr. Jayanthi Srinivasiah, of Georgia Cancer Specialists who is Tamara’s medical oncologist says, “Tamara was an ideal candidate for a clinical trial. She was enthusiastic about participating from the very beginning.”

Tamara and her husband were pleased that the team of doctors from DeKalb Medical including surgeon Dr. John Kennedy and radiation oncologist Dr. David Holladay, met with them personally to review treatment options. “We agreed that the clinical trial was the best approach for me,” states Tamara, “and Emily, the navigator, held my hand throughout the process.”

“Participating in a clinical trial was a way to take back my power. I felt like being on a clinical trial put me in control. The trial gave me a chance to thank all the women before me who were on trials and to help other women who would have breast cancer in the future.”

“Actually, we learned pretty quickly that the chemo I was given was effective – the size of the tumor decreased by about half before I had the surgery. Unfortunately, losing my hair was worse than the chemo! But I had a beautiful wig and went on with my life as a mom of two kids who were only 6 and 12.”

According to Tamara, she learned a lot through her experience with cancer. Tamara says she had to accept help from friends, co-workers and family who brought food and picked up the kids from school.

“One of the big surprises was that blogging was part of the healing process for me,” she says. “Before I started blogging I felt like my light was being extinguished by the cancer; but, after I began telling my own story, getting positive feedback online and ending each post with a positive thought, my light began to come back,” she says with a big smile.

Tamara’s confidence grew as her treatment progressed. She gives credit to “Dr. Jay” and the team at Georgia Cancer Specialists and DeKalb Medical for their compassion and the excellent care. “With their help, I began to feel that I could get through the treatment. The clinical trial and the blogging put power back in my hands. If you think cancer is in control, all hope is lost. My advice to cancer patients is to put yourself in control.”

Back to Survivors' Voices

Cancer Survivorship Connection

Guest Editorial: A three-time cancer survivor should not get COVID-19, but I did

Cancer patients and survivors should not get COVID-19. A three-time cancer survivor should definitely not get COVID. But I did. And it was not good. Here is my story and the lessons I learned that might be of value to others.


Survivors helping others survive

Three women, three cancer survivorship journeys, three missions resulting in nonprofits started to help and support others fighting cancer.


Despite pandemic, Georgia’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program making significant strides

Thanks to funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control for five-years beginning July 2020, Georgia CORE and Augusta University are partners in the Georgia Colorectal Cancer Control Program, which is increasing CRC screenings in southeast and southwest Georgia.


Georgia CORE


Advancing Cancer Care through Partnerships and Innovation

Georgia CORE is a public-private partnership that creates collaboration among the state’s cancer organizations and institutions to connect more Georgians to quality, personalized cancer care. We welcome you to this one-of-a-kind online information center for all things related to cancer and survivorship care in Georgia.