Current statistics indicate that over 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. Ovarian cancer is considered a serious and often lethal form of the disease since it can be present for a considerable amount of time before it causes symptoms. This results in the disease being more advanced upon initial diagnosis, resulting in fewer treatment options that render a great degree of success. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is attempting to change these statistics by using genetic testing and tumor markers to provide more targeted treatment options for this often deadly disease. Consider one woman’s courageous story of hope and the tremendous amount of support and care she received from CTCA.
The Courageous Story of Christine: An Ovarian Cancer Survivor
When she was only 30 years old, Christine began experiencing sharp pain in her side. Since it was winter time and bad weather was approaching, a friend encouraged Christine to seek medical care at a local emergency room. Doctors were suspecting a straightforward case of appendicitis, but they were all shocked when biopsy results revealed that Christine had ovarian cancer. Since she had young children at home, Christine prepared for the battle of a lifetime as she began an extensive chemotherapy regime that lasted several months.
Disappointing Post-Treatment News
Several months after completing the harsh combination chemotherapy regime she underwent, Christine was disheartened to discover that her cancer was steadily growing just a few weeks after surgeons attempted to completely remove it via major surgery. Christine was devastated when doctors encouraged her to get her affairs in order because she likely only had a month left to enjoy the company of her husband and children. However, Christine was not ready to give up just yet. She subsequently tried a different chemotherapy drug which initially proved to be successful in arresting the growth of her cancer. She also completed radiation therapy following an additional surgery and was found to be in remission.
The Dreaded News of Recurrence
Over two years following being told she was in remission, Christine learned the devastating news that her cancer had once again reared its ugly head. This time tests showed it had spread to her liver, so she had surgery to remove the cancerous portion of her liver. With additional spread to her lymph nodes shortly after this discovery, doctors once again encouraged Christine to enjoy what little time she had left with her family.
Instead of throwing in the towel, Christine and her family decided to see the cancer professionals at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The dedicated professionals at CTCA encouraged Christine to undergo genetic testing on her tumor. This would allow them to discover the unique genetic composition of her tumors so that a targeted treatment approach could be offered that would be more likely to offer a successful resolution to the disease. Christine subsequently underwent an advanced genetic test that analyzed her tumor against 315 various genetic profiles. The test results revealed which treatment option Christine’s tumors would be most likely to respond to, allowing her to begin an effective course of treatment at once. Christine’s treatment was an oral medication taken daily over a period of three years. Follow up tests showed that Christine was once again cancer free following this novel genetic approach to treating her cancer.
Christine, along with the compassionate professionals at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, want patients to realize that there is hope even for the most advanced cases of cancer. The advent of genetic testing is still relatively new and more research is still needed in this area. However, genetic testing appears to be an exciting upcoming avenue by which to provide more effective treatment options for cancer patients all across the United States. By testing a cancer patient’s tumors and biological blood markers, a specific treatment regime that is more likely to be effective in their particular type of cancer can often be found. Attempts are also being made to provide tests that allow for cancer to be accurately diagnosed at an earlier stage, allowing for improved outcomes for patients long-term. With both earlier and more accurate diagnosis as well as targeted treatment options, more cancer patients today will see the type of success they are hoping for from their treatment regimes.