Her recent digestive issues, her weight loss and nagging back pain, they were the result of an aggressive pancreatic cancer growth. A stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
The diagnosis left her overwhelmed and in shock. We've been there too. The first days and weeks of a cancer diagnosis can leave you reeling.
Thank goodness for family and friends! Karen's sister dug in deep and began the research that has ultimately given Karen great hope.
Her sister encouraged her to have her tumor profiled with PanCan's Know your Tumor program.
The tissue sample showed a rare mutation that is known to respond to a relatively new immunotherapy drug called Keytruda. Within weeks of starting the Keytruda regimen, her cancer stabilized, giving her the added relief of her back pain easing and a noticeable improvement in her overall well-being.
You may have seen the ads on TV for Keytruda. It has been largely targeted towards those with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, but has been approved for any solid tumor that displays certain molecular characteristics.
According to the manufacturer, Keytruda works by blocking the PD-1 pathway to help prevent cancer cells from hiding. Keytruda helps the immune system do what it was meant to do: detect and fight cancer cells.
Keytruda is an immunotherapy treatment that is showing good results for those with certain mutations in the pancreatic cancer tumor. This molecular mutation is somewhat rare in pancreatic cancer tumors, appearing in only 1-3% of these tumors. And while this may be a slim number of pancreatic cancer patients, if it can help even a handful it is so worth shouting the news from the rooftops!
Karen shares her story over at the PanCan website as a way to shed light on the potential for new pancreatic cancer treatments and the hope they give.
As always, check with your medical team. We celebrate the Hope of potential new treatments, but we never lose sight of the heavy responsibility of sharing truth and not unrealistic pipe dreams.
We battle together, fighting until a Cure is found...
In Grace, Always,