CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Healthcare providers are reminding people to re-schedule their cancer screenings that they may have put off during the pandemic.
If you are diagnosed with a late stage cancer, there is a newer kind of medicine that can help.
Anne Marie Peter was diagnosed shortly before the pandemic began. She said it's important not to put off health care, especially if your body is telling you something is wrong.
"In 2019, I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and it spread to my bones," said Peter. "Originally, I was told that I had 18 months to live."
Peter says if it weren't for the precision medicine team at Ohio's TriHealth Cancer Institute, she likely wouldn't be able to tell her story.
"Precision medicine is this concept that every person is different, every person's disease is different," said Dr. Andrew Parchman, a medical oncologist at TriHealth.
Because Peter's lung cancer had already spread into her bones, the precision medicine team, along with genetic counselor Karen Hueslman, made the decision to see what was pushing it there with something called tumor profile testing.
"Tumor profile testing is where we are taking a piece of tissue that is cancerous, so it could come from a surgical specimen or a biopsy, and we are sending that out to a lab testing more than 600 different genes looking for mutations or drivers that make the cancer progress or grow," said Huelsman. "This allows them to identify the weak spots in that cancer, and match to a therapy based on those genetic mutations."
For Peter, not only did it greatly diminish her cancer overall, but according to her team, the cancer is no longer present in her bones.
"We found this EGFR mutation, which is specific to her cancer, and we've developed this type of pill, and we have a number of them now, that work very well for this cancer," said Dr. Parchman.
Peter is being monitored closely, but her team says this treatment is the future of living with long-term illnesses, like late-stage cancer.
For more information on the precision medicine program at TriHealth, call (513) 853-4363.