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It’s hard enough for any cancer patient to get into clinical trials. It’s even harder for a patient with a rare cancer like Todd Mercer.

Mercer, a 52-year-old defense industry professional, lives in Michigan with his wife and their two teenagers. At age 50, Mercer got a colonoscopy, as is recommended for people his age, and received a clean bill of health. Six weeks later, his appendix burst.

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