Sven was just 34 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 3 locally invasive colorectal cancer…and his doctors told him that chemo alone was his best option.
But something about this didn’t feel totally right to Sven.
He had a niggle. And this was his life – literally – that was on the line. He wasn’t about to leave it to chance.
So he called our experts at CTOAM…and got the support, and treatments, that he needed.
Read on to learn exactly how our cancer experts helped Sven beat cancer, even when his treating oncologist was not prepared to prescribe immunotherapy!
How did Sven go from stage 3 invasive colorectal cancer to cancer-free in just 5 months?
This case study was prepared by our lead cancer expert and Chief Research Director, Alex Rolland. Alex has helped prepare treatment plans for oncologists at the Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, and Johns Hopkins, as well as cancer centres and hospitals worldwide. He is one of the world’s leading minds in Precision Cancer Medicine and oncogenomics.
Patient Case Report: Metastatic CRC (stage 3)
34-year-old Sven was diagnosed with stage T3bN2b locally invasive colorectal cancer. Additionally, his imaging detected numerous small stable lumps in his lungs that were suspicious of metastasis. T3bN2b CRCs have a 72% overall survival (OS) at 5 years.
Sven’s doctors suggested he do standard care neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation (RT) using a well-established protocol referred to as CAPOX. The goal of neoadjuvant therapy is to shrink the tumors prior to surgery, so that the surgery is less invasive. Neoadjuvant therapy has proven to be better than waiting until after surgery to do treatments (adjuvant therapy).
Importantly, with neoadjuvant chemo/RT, there is a small chance (12-15%) of achieving the holy grail of treatment: a pathological complete response (pCR). A pCR is when there is no evidence of cancer!
A previous study showed that when stage II/III colorectal patients get a pCR from neoadjuvant therapy, they have a 5-year OS = 95%; a 77% chance of living over 10 years; a median OS of 12.1 years; and, in this study, 95% of patients that went on to get surgery were alive at the time of the publishing (13 years)!
We presented Sven and his doctors with some important new studies showing that when a new, and readily available, type of drug called a PD-1 inhibitor (immune checkpoint inhibitor) was added to the neoadjuvant chemo/RT, the chance of getting a pCR jumped to over 37%.
We also educated Sven on how he could use inexpensive cold gloves and cold caps to reduce the risk of neuropathy and hair loss from his neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, Sven’s doctors were adamant against using neoadjuvant immune therapy and urged him to simply go along with the standard care – which, as mentioned earlier, is associated with a dismal 12-15% chance of a pCR and, at best, a 64-72% chance of being alive at 5 years.
So instead we helped Sven gain access to a forward-thinking community oncologist (and a history of being very pro-patient!). We presented these data points to this oncologist, and he agreed that it was Sven who should make this choice...and if Sven really wanted to, the oncologist would be willing to prescribe a few self-pay infusions of a PD-1 inhibitor that was being offered at a reduced cost to Sven once he had completed the standard neoadjuvant and prior to his surgery.
We also did an extensive tumor DNA sequencing test on Sven’s tumor to ensure he did not have any DNA mutations that could result in resistance to PD-1 inhibitors.
Sven completed his neoadjuvant chemo, RT and then did a few infusions of Atezolizumab (prescribed by the external community oncologist) without experiencing any significant side effects.
A short time later, Sven went for his surgery and was given the amazing news that he had indeed achieved a pCR!
There was no evidence of cancer anywhere in his body.
In other words, Sven is now cancer-free in just 5 months of beginning treatment!
These results are the rule, not the exception, when you apply Precision Cancer Medicine properly to your cancer care.
And our team is here to help you do just that.
What you need to know! Quick recap:
Please don’t worry if the scientific terms and explanations in the case study sound like a bunch of gobbledygook to you! That’s very okay. It’s up to our team of experts to understand the complex science behind everything – your job is simply to ask questions, reach out for the support you need, and do the best you can to get through this difficult time.
So here are the fundamental points for you to take away from this:
1. Standard testing is NOT enough
Standard pathology – and even standard tumor DNA testing, sadly – are not enough to ensure you’ve identified ALL of your treatment options. They’re also not enough to ensure you’re on the right treatment. If Sven had stuck with his doctor’s initial treatment plan, his outcome would likely have been very different. That’s why it’s important to understand this point, however frustrating it may be. Standard care is simply not good enough for most cancer cases.
2. CTOAM can always help you get better results
Having our experts at CTOAM review your genetic test results will always lead to you and your doctor being able to make the best use of the most current medical science in your cancer care plan…in other words, it will give you the very best chance of beating cancer as fast as possible, while maintaining the highest quality of life (both during and after treatment).
Get the support you need to beat cancer, fast – using the newest treatments
Please reach out today if you’d like our lead expert, Alex Rolland, to assess your case and tell you exactly what your next steps should be to be for beating cancer asap using Precision Cancer Medicine.
If you’d like to be getting results like Sven’s, register for a Precision Second Opinion consultation with Alex today:
The number one thing we hear from our patients is that they wish they’d started with us sooner.
Reach out anytime if you have questions or want to know more.
P.S. You can also book a 30-min Free Cancer Care Strategy Session with our cancer advocacy specialist, Michelle Morand, to ask any questions you have about our navigating the healthcare system and accessing better cancer care.on October 24, 2022