On August 6th, 2012 I was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. My prognosis without treatment was poor and with chemotherapy not much better. My oncologist holding off on treatment until I could get mutation testing done. My results came back as EGFR positive and I started on the targeted drug Tarceva. This medicine helps a small percentage off patients for a limited amount of time. My cancer shrunk 40% the first 6 months, stayed stable another 12 and slowly progressed for another 6 months. I was very lucky to get 2 years out of it. Another biopsy was done for to see if I developed another mutation common in those who have EGFR. I did have T790M which made me a candidate for a clinical trial in Boston. It has been a lot of work trying to keep all of the side effects at bay. My cancer has been stable for another year.
The toughest part was deciding on this path of targeted medicine as opposed to standard chemotherapy. It took a lot of research, finding people who have gone through the same treatment and learning about all of the up and coming treatment options. We as patients have choices now and doctors leave those choices up to us. We or our caregivers need to be educated to advocate for us and make the best possible decisions.