Indiana mother seeing successful lung cancer treatment - FOX 32 News Chicago

Indiana mother seeing successful lung cancer treatment at Karmanos

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(WJBK) -

An Indiana woman drives several hours to Detroit and the Karmanos Cancer Institute every three weeks. The trips are to undergo a trial drug to treat her lung cancer, which proves to be working.

"The first couple Christmases after I was diagnosed I wondered if, 'Will this be my last Christmas?' but I don't really go there anymore. I mean, I love Christmas."

Married 25 years with two teenage sons 44-year-old Stephanie Strickland says, for now, life is looking pretty bright after some very dark days.

"In April of 2010 I had a seizure, no other symptoms other than that seizure," she explains.

That seizure, at her son's soccer game, sends her to the hospital where scans would reveal a shocking reality.

"When they took me into the hospital that day they found that I had a lump in my lung and also a bunch of metastasis in my head - so I was stage-four lung cancer," Strickland says.

She never smoked; instead her lung cancer was triggered by a genetic mutation. The exciting part, though, is new drugs are being studied to treat this type of cancer. That's what brought her to Karmanos and oncologist Shirish Gadgeel.

Stephanie signed on to test one of the trial drugs, and her CAT scans reveal it's working.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to see CAT scans that show her lung cancer six months ago versus now

"You do still see some haziness so it's not completely gone but it's far less than what it was before," Dr. Gadgeel says.
It's the same story with the cancer in her brain.

Strickland says she will stay on this drug as long as it works.

Unfortunately, everyone develops resistance to the drugs overtime so one drug doesn't bring a long-term solution, but she knows as long as she has science on her side she can look at her future and her sons with a little more hope.

The drug is getting breakthrough status which means the FDA should fast track it's approval. Many cutting edge drug trials are happening at Karmanos. In fact,
 there's even an app to learn about them.


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