First post. My wife was diagnosed July 2012 with possible NSCLC after 6 weeks of back pain while in Japan. Returned to Seattle for further diagnosis with severe pain. Opiates and Ibuprofen work. Initial consultations with primary care doctor and general oncologist, neg brain MRI and stage 2-3. PET scan ordered. She wanted second opinion.
Referred to a cancer center in Seattle. We asked to see their best lung cancer oncologist. He found stage 4 squamous, L lung tumor + spine/rib/lymph. Shocked but extremely impressed with his academic credentials and liked his personable but very disciplined professional demeanor. Cisplatin/Gemzar and then Carboplatin/Gemzar chemo during August, September and early October. After a CT showed little improvement, strong fatigue, nausea and low blood counts he discontinued the chemo. Three choices for a third line approach, none of which she was enthused about. He mentioned a new trial drug soon to be out in phase three, showing promise.
She opted to wait on the trial drug and visit her family in Japan for 2.5 months. We consulted with a top cancer MD there for future care in Japan. He also thought this trial drug was the best chance for positive results. She was off cancer drugs for three months. We returned to Seattle in mid January and her pain level was very high. 180mg of Oxycontin/day plus ibuprofen very helpful.
She applied for the trial, was accepted and randomized (50/50) for the trial drug versus the comparison drug, Docetaxel. She has been on the trial anti-PD-1 drug, Nivolumab/BMS-936558, every two weeks. She just finished #6. Right after #1 (Jan 28) the pain started down quickly. The last 8 weeks or so she has had no pain, no nausea and no side effects! Recent CT between #4 and #5 showed very substantial tumor shrinkage and no spread.
Thank you to the Swedish Cancer Institute, the trial nurses and our oncologist, Dr. Jack West for your wonderful and loving care! Arigato!