Lung Cancer - Stage IV: Suzanne Friedman

In late February 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC (non small cell lung cancer). That same day, I went to an oncologist who suggested a particular chemotherapy protocol.

He also informed me that I had 7-8 months to live if I didn’t undergo the treatment, and up to two years if I did.

I am a Chinese medicine doctor. Having treated cancer patients for many years, I chose to take the time to figure out a plan that I felt most comfortable with, despite the doctor’s insistence that I not wait to begin treatment.

After consulting with the top people in the field of cutting-edge cancer research, I decided to find a surgeon willing to operate so that I could send a tissue sample to Robert Nagourney, MD, at Rational Therapeutics for drug sensitivity testing. Shari at Rational Therapeutics was amazingly helpful and kind throughout the entire process.

The Rational Therapeutics Ex-Vivo Analysis – Programmed Cell Death (EVA-PCD®) functional profiling assay showed that my cancer was particularly sensitive to a combination of Tarceva plus Avastin (two non-chemotherapeutic drugs).

Interestingly, my cancer was resistant to the protocol proposed by my initial oncologist. I went with the assay recommendation, along with acupuncture, herbs, supplements, qigong, meditation and a strict diet. 

About two months later, my first CT scan showed that 70 percent of the cancer was gone. (The cancer had initially been in both lungs and adjacent lymph nodes, collapsing my right lung). In September, almost seven months after my diagnosis, my PET scan showed that there was no cancer left in my body.

My doctor and others with whom I’ve spoken are amazed at how quickly my cancer went into remission. I have no doubt that sending my lymph node to Rational Therapeutics saved my life.

I have already sent many people and patients to Dr. Nagourney. Thanks to him, I can continue to do so for a long, long time.

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?