John’s wife Nan had been diagnosed with an advanced form of cervical cancer nearly a decade ago. They spent about 5 years trying to fight it through standard care. Nan got surgery, radiation, and many rounds of chemo. She grew worse.
They eventually reached out to us when it looked like there was nothing more that could be done for Nan, except for palliative chemo, through standard care. We took a look at her case and immediately sent Nan for genetic testing.
Our cancer expert Alex Rolland found several promising treatment options based on results, including immunotherapy. However, due to various factors at the time, John and Nan decided to stick with standard care and continue with the palliative chemo. Nan passed away several months later.
Second Chance for Better Cancer Care
As you can imagine, John was shattered. He’d lost his wife. As the grief sunk in and the days, months, and years went by, step by step John slowly moved forward with his life, one day at a time.
He threw himself into volunteer work to find a sense of meaning again. He started to open up more and let himself be supported by the community around him. Everyone banded together. And years later John even met someone new.
Even though grief was deep in his heart, and would always be, John found himself rebuilding, piece by piece. It became a little easier to smile and with his new partner and volunteer work, John had a newfound feeling of purpose. He knew Nan was looking down smiling at him.
Then John started getting some odd symptoms of his own. A visit to his doctor revealed extremely high PSA levels – it turned out that John had prostate cancer.
Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
This time, John wasted no time: he had seen how standard care had let down his Nan and he was not going to make the same mistake twice. He called us immediately. We sent him for comprehensive genetic testing and a PET/CT scan to get a more accurate and detailed diagnosis. And then, based on John’s exact genetic mutations, Alex found some great targeted treatment options for him.
John was able to avoid hormone therapy, which would’ve lowered his quality of life – instead, he’s currently taking a low-dose targeted therapy treatment and feeling good. He’s still happily working full time doing project management and enjoying quality time with his partner.
We’re monitoring John with liquid biopsies to measure the exact levels of cancer in his body. His last test showed 0% ctDNA (circulating tumor DNA) in his bloodstream – this means there are NO live cancer cells in his body! Excellent news!
And if that percentage happens to increase anytime in future, as it often does with cancer, then we will know immediately and put him on the next targeted treatment.
So John is very likely going to enjoy many more decades of quality life, despite his prostate cancer diagnosis.
Because he reached out to us immediately, got the exact right diagnosis, and the exact right targeted treatments.
Preventing Recurrence with Liquid Biopsy
And because he is getting the most accurate treatment monitoring with liquid biopsy – so if any cancer returns, we catch it immediately and start him on the right targeted treatment asap.
The sad part is that dear Nan would have also likely had many more years of quality life had she gone on the right targeted treatments.
And if she had come to us when she was first diagnosed, it’s quite likely that we could have turned her cancer from a terminal illness into a manageable chronic disease that still allowed her to live a high quality, fulfilling life.
This is the difference between standard care and precision oncology.
I’m sharing this story with you because I think it speaks volumes that John – who had to go through the unthinkable with his own wife passing away – called us, again, when he himself was diagnosed. And we’re so glad he did because this way he can continue to enjoy his life that he’s worked so hard to build…and not face the same fate as his beloved Nan.
Take Control of Your Cancer Care Today
If you have any questions about how your own cancer care can be improved, or if you’re feeling confused or scared about your next steps, you can always reach out to me.
You can always sign up for a free 30-min session with me to help you navigate your next steps and get empowered about cancer advocacy. Just sign up here → Schedule Your Fee Strategy Session.on November 11, 2020