Posted on February 4, 2016
Posted on February 4, 2016John's oncologist, Dr. Pennell, called last night to tell us John's cancer contains the EGFR mutation. Normally when you hear gene mutation, it's not good news. However in the cancer world, this is amazing! EGFR stands for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor. It's one of the two most common gene mutations in non-small cell lung cancer but is found in less than 15% of patients. His specific mutation has a marker that typically means it's more receptive to medications. Dr. Pennell said this was the best possible outcome. The doctor is ordering a medication called Gilotrif (afatinib-seriously where do they come up with these names?). He'll start it as soon as it arrives; hopefully sometime next week. We just have to see if insurance will help cover it. If not it could be $5,500 a month. Yikes. It's just one pill a day with minimal (hopefully) side effects. This medication stops the signals from the gene that are needed by the cancer to grow and develop. He could see improvement in as little as a couple days. We'll go up to the Clinic in three weeks after starting for blood work to make sure it's working. Then he'll get full scans in two months to see how the cancer is responding. Eventually his cancer will find a way to work around the medication, but there are lots of options if/when we get to that point. Fingers crossed for a complete and lasting response on this medication. We're ecstatic!
Posted on February 3, 2016
Posted on February 3, 2016I'll try to post updates as I can on this site. We did start a CaringBridge site which we'll use to keep everyone up to date. Check it out! http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/johncherol
Posted on January 23, 2016
Posted on January 23, 2016Next week will be a busy one. We will be at the Cleveland Clinic all day on Tuesday 1/26 for more tests and a lung biopsy. The point of the biopsy is to get better tissue samples in order to do genetic testing. Based on John's age, non-smoking history and the aggressiveness of the cancer there is a huge chance there's a specific gene behind this. There are targeted treatments for these genes. We'll also be meeting with the radiation team sometime next week to start radiation treatments on his brain and hip. Every day is different and brings new challenges, but we will get through it!