CBS2 is introducing you to a New Yorker who has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.She recently explained to Alice Gainer, a reporter, how genetic testing helped her find a medication that is reducing the size of her tumors and allowing her to continue living her life normally.
Elizabeth Jaffe stated, “I thought it was the end for me… um yeah.”
The 61-year-old was given a diagnosis she said she could never have imagined two years ago.
Jaffe stated, “I had difficulty walking, and it got worse and worse.”Other strange symptoms included food that tasted strange, dulled, and water that tasted slimy.It was very strange.”
Her brain had lesions discovered by doctors after two trips to the emergency room.
She had a large number of brain spots.Gainer was shown by Dr. Vamsidhar Velcheti of NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center, who stated, “This is one of the biggest one.”
Jaffe stated that additional testing revealed that the lung cancer had spread to the brain.
Velcheti stated, “It’s over a 7-centimeter tumor here.”
It was unbelievable to me.”I don’t think I ever smoked a cigarette,” Jaffe stated.
Gainer reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that people who have never smoked or who have smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime are the victims of 10-20 percent of lung cancer cases each year in the United States.
“Lung cancer can happen to anyone with lungs.”It’s very important to comprehend that,” Velcheti stated.When we talk about stage 4 lung cancer, we typically sort of think about it because it is quite advanced.Few treatments are available.That is no longer the case.”
Jaffe’s tumor underwent genetic testing by Velcheti’s team.
“It is very important to know the status of the bio markers.Velcheti stated, “That is like what the DNA makeup of the tumor is, what specific vulnerabilities the tumor has.”
By doing this, doctors can tailor treatment by determining which biomarkers respond to particular drug therapies.
Jaffe now takes a targeted cancer drug every day as a result of that.She also had physical therapy and radiation to shrink the lesions on her brain, which freezes cancer cells in the lungs.
“All of the previous lesions are gone here.She responded very nicely.Velcheti stated, “This is all that is left of the tumor.”Her brain scan reveals no signs of cancer.”
Jaffe stated, “I feel like I’m 99 percent better.”
Jaffe, who used to work as a speech therapist for the city’s Department of Education, is now a tutor, can travel again, and walks well.
Despite the fact that she will be taking medication for the rest of her life, she now has a new outlook.
Jaffe stated, “I try to do things I want to do because time doesn’t last forever.” She added, “I’m more in the moment and I appreciate life more.”
But everything is having more of it when you thought you didn’t.