Lung Cancer - Pleural Mesothelioma: Judith Black

Looking back to October 2008, I am amazed how I was guided to Dr. Robert Nagourney and his groundbreaking laboratory Rational Therapeutics

Upon being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, I was told by my oncologist that I could expect to live, at the most, six months to a year, and that the treatment for pleural mesothelioma cancer was only to keep me comfortable!! As I was leaving the doctor’s office, still in shock, I was introduced to Dr. Nagourney, and that is when the miracle began.
 
Two days later a biopsy was performed and the surgeon, Dr. Robert Shuman, hand carried the tissue samples to Dr. Nagourney’s office.  His functional profiling assay identified which of the cancer drugs would be effective on the cancer cells.
 
After obtaining his test results and treatment regimen, my oncologist followed the prescribed infusion plan.
 
Six months into my infusion program, a PET scan showed the cancer was basically the same, so my oncologist changed the infusion chemicals to what was being used at the City of Hope. 

Three months later, another PET scan showed the cancer was growing, and my oncologist told me there was nothing else that could be done, and that he would prescribe radiation and “help me out,” saying he figured I would die within a year.  
 
I told him I could not accept this, and returned to Dr. Nagourney for his opinion. Dr. Nagourney says he practices HOPE, and both he and his office staff certainly proved that he means what he says.  He changed my chemo regimen and told me the initial program had not failed, and that if it did, he could come up with something that would work.  He even assured me that if necessary he could prescribe drugs that would give me a hairdo JUST LIKE HIS.
 
Eight years have passed now, and I am still going strong, thanks to Dr. Nagourney and his “prescription.”  
 
I have been able to return to my home in the mountains, and just prior to writing this, I was hiking at 8000 feet. Though not as strong as I once was, I enjoy a quality of life that would not be possible if it were not for Dr. Nagourney and his individualized approach to cancer treatment.
 
During the course of my ongoing treatment, I have met numerous people that also feel they owe their lives to Dr. Nagourney. Therefore, in an attempt to make a difference to fellow cancer patients who would otherwise be unable to afford this lifesaving analysis, I consider it a special privilege to donate to the Vanguard Cancer Foundation.
 
I wish to thank Dr. Nagourney and his wonderful staff for what they have done for me and the many other people that are alive today because of his dedication and knowledge.

How We Test Your Cancer Infographic

Currently, hundreds of drugs, drug combinations and targeted agents are used to treat cancer patients. With so many choices, how does your oncologist decide which ones are right for you?