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Stage 4 lung cancer: how immunotherapy helped one local mom recover

Helping people with lung cancer using immunotherapy
Posted at 5:57 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 17:57:46-05

"I went to my primary care because I had a sinus infection." As a smoker for 40 years Natalie went through with the chest x-ray, which showed something.

And then a CAT Scan... which showed something questionable, resulting in a PET Scan, "You see like on TV, when I found out it was such a process, so you kinda knew. It faded into your consciousness"

It was 2014, her husband had just gone into remission in his own cancer battle. That's when she met Dr. Suman Rao with MedStar Franklin Square, "Natalie was one of my younger patients she was working, she has 2 young children, she had extensive disease."

As the Director of Thoracic Oncology at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center she worked with Natalie on treatment options. Natalie started with chemo but had adverse reactions, forcing her to stop one part of the treatment, "The tumors has shrunk but when I stopped the tumors started coming back again."

That's when she and Dr. Rao moved on to a clinical trial involving immunotherapy, "The concept of immunotherapy, which is using their own immune system to help fight the cancer is very appealing to patients.So it wasn't very difficult to convince people to go on this trial and Natalie was no exception."

Infusion took about 45 minutes and had minimal side effects. Natalie was even back to work the day after treatment. After 36 months and treatments every three weeks Natalie was removed from the trial, her cancer was gone. That was 2 years ago, "It is a miracle-- I don't think we would have had this happen without immunotherapy so it definitely is a miracle."