Who could have imagined that after I retired in early February, the world would change so dramatically? In the intervening months, I have enjoyed your many calls, emails, and notes. Thank you! It was so nice to hear from you!
I understand many are interested in a brief update of my situation and I am delighted to tell you the news is fantastic! As of early April, the daily pill has successfully shrunk the tumors by about 70%. It is a remarkable outcome and one I could not have anticipated when I was first diagnosed almost a year ago. This pill, which targets my specific mutated lung cells, (hence its’ name “targeted therapy”), is not chemo but rather a strong anti-cancer medication. Fortunately, it has few side effects and I am tolerating it well. I will take it as long as it is working and, when it no longer does, other options are available or are being researched by a global team of lung cancer scientists and oncologists.
In the meantime, I am enjoying every day! I golf regularly with girlfriends or Ron. Our yoga studio went online as soon as they were told to close. We practice yoga and Pilates 3-5 times a week on our living room and dining room floors. I am reading, gardening, cooking, and most of all spending time with my four-year-old grand-daughter, and excited that another grand-daughter is due mid July.
Scientific advancements in cancer have benefited me greatly and I feel fortunate to have a treatable, though not curable, version of lung cancer. An emerging area of global scientific interest is the development of a non-invasive test called a liquid biopsy. This has potential as a screening test for multiple cancers, a tool for oncologists to monitor disease progression, and to identify the tumor’s genetic mutations. It is a blood test that looks for cancer cells circulating in the blood or for pieces of tumor cell DNA in the blood. For lung cancer, this could be revolutionary as there is no broad-based, early detection test for lung cancer unlike prostate, breast and colon cancers. Here’s a link with more information: “The future of liquid biopsy”, Nature, March 25, 2020.
If you know of anyone or any group who would benefit from learning more about lung cancer, I am pleased to assist as an informed layperson and will involve my specialist team as needed.
Lung cancer has a stigma, which interferes with people’s perception of it and results in fewer donations as compared with other types of cancer. My goal is to expand understanding and to advocate for greater funding for lung cancer research and treatment. If you think you might like to help improve the future of lung cancer treatment, please consider donating to the advancement of lung cancer diagnosis, treatment, and research. You can direct funds to the Sunnybrook Hospital Lung Cancer Specialists.
As my Oncologist says, the need is great, and every dollar helps. Thank you!