At the age of 32, Sisi was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. She started experiencing breast cancer symptoms nearly a year earlier but, she didn't give it much thought or didn't recognize it at that time. This lead to a late diagnosis and large tumor mass with residual lung tumors even after surgery.
She went through multiple standard chemotherapy treatments, but her residual tumors didn't disappear. After a number of chemotherapy cycles, her chemotherapist told her that extra chemo wouldn't help her.
At this point, she was hopeless and didn't know exactly where to turn. Fortunately, she was referred to seek out clinical trials and she qualified to participate in an immunotherapy clinical trial. It was a hard decision for her as there was only a 50% chance of being randomized to an immunotherapy treatment group. She decided to toss the coin and she won it.
Sisi's treatments started a week after randomization. Like most clinical trial participants, Sisi did experience side effects. But in the end her residual tumors had shrunk significantly and she was labeled a "super-responder" in the words of her oncologist.
When Sisi was asked to share her experiences at the end of the trial, she said, "Treatment beyond the standard of care renewed my hope for the future, and for me it is 100% better than chemotherapy. Now I feel like I have more energy than ever before and it is awesome. Maybe in the future immunotherapy leads to a cure for cancer without having any side effects, and I have been a part of that, it's just stunning. I would absolutely recommend cancer patients to look into clinical trials and get in if you got a chance. I don't believe I would still be here today without immunotherapy."
More than five years since her diagnosis and two years since completing immunotherapy, she is still going strong thanks to the immunotherapy clinical trial.