Cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly bad news that not only shatters the person diagnosed with it, but his or her family also suffers. The first thought that comes to the mind after hearing this devastating news is if the person is going to survive or not.
This is the situation that Jamie Goldfarb faced, who never thought that she would be diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma that was treated successfully. However, the very next year stage 3 melanoma was also diagnosed. Treatment was successful this time as well. All scans like PET scans showed that she was fully cured after surgery and there were no remanents of this disease.
Jamie was happy and moving on with her life. She also had a child after her recovery and was going to return to her career soon. Life seemed right on track but all of a sudden something happened that was totally unexpected – Jamie was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma this time!
Stage 4 is an advanced stage of cancer. On this stage, cancer spreads to the other parts of the body from its place of origin. So was the case with Jamie – cancer had spread to her liver and pancreas. Jamie desperately wanted this news to be wrong but unfortunately, it was true.
Stage 4 cancer survival rate is very low. Five-year survival rate with stage 4 melanoma is around 15%-20%. Jamie had a small child and a whole life ahead of her. She and her husband knew that a prognosis of stage 4 melanoma is not good with standard treatment protocol. That is when they decided to give a go to a clinical trial. Jamie was ready to take her chance because it seemed the best option at that point. She enrolled for TILs or tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes trial after consulting with experts. This treatment was supposed to kill cancer cells considering them foreign invaders.
This trial was successful for more than 50% of patients, so this gave Jamie some hope. However, her luck did not seem to work as at the start of treatment, the tumor kept getting bigger and bigger. After four months of treatment when everyone was disappointed and about to give up and switch to traditional treatment, the good news started pouring in. The recent scans showed a slight decrease in tumor size! Every following scan showed a visible change in the size. After two years of her treatment, the news everyone had been waiting for came – Jamie was tumor-free!
Now, Jamie is living a happy, healthy, and grateful life with her family. She is thankful for every moment she is living and she counsels cancer patients about the importance of taking up a clinical trial. She believes that such trials are a ray of hope for late-stage cancer patients and everyone deserves a chance to live a healthy life again.