Breast Cancer: Sandy’s story

Sandy Fehrman: stage 4 metastatic cancer, her story and treatment

Transcript

Sandy: I was diagnosed with cancer in 1992. I was 44 years old and my children were 16, 15 and 11 at that time. I didn’t, I’ve always been an extremely healthy person and I joke with Dr Glock now that I’m still a healthy person, except for the cancer.

Dr Glock: Sandy and I first met each other back in 1992, so we’ve been on this road together for a while, and upon recurrence in the early 2000s, she benefited from many therapies for many years.

Sandy: In 2003 I was diagnosed with a recurrence and that recurrence was in both my lungs, multiple tumours, three tumours in my liver and five bone sites. So I was, I think, 55 at the time and never thought I would see 60. We just kind of winded our way through all the traditional chemotherapies, side effects were pretty serious, frequently, and in 2007 I had finished them all. There was nothing else for me to do. But Dr Glock never said that, he told me that there were still more treatments available.

Dr Glock: Sandy is an excellent example of a very youthful patient with a quest for life that when we reached a point where we had exhausted standard therapies, that I told her it was worth obtaining additional tissue and submitting that for molecular profiling, and that turned out to be fairly bountiful in terms of the information.

Sandy: So it was an astonishing thought, I had some kind of disbelief because it sounded so good but, like I said, I was game to try anything.

Dr Glock: It allowed us to go down paths that we would not have anticipated. It has allowed her to take on therapies that would not otherwise have been offered and we are now several years into this saga, where she has shown a great response to the therapies, so predicted by molecular profiling.

Sandy: So to me even though stage 4 metastatic cancer is not curable, as Dr Glock loves to say, it’s treatable and manageable. We know that the cancer in the bone is progressing, but I still can do anything I want to do. And that’s part of my joy, is since 2007, I have seen both my sons married and I have had the birth of a grandchild, and my daughter has graduated from nursing school. So those gifts are gifts.