The road to cancer treatment – Deborah Cummis Sandlaufer was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on June 8 2012. At 52, Sandlaufer has led a healthy lifestyle -- she didn't smoke, she didn't drink and she ate a proper diet. Unfortunately the cancer still took hold.
The road to cancer treatment – Ovarian cancer is notoriously hard to spot. In fact, it is known to claim the lives of over 14,000 women annually in the United States. Sandlaufer has a genetic mutation in her BRCA gene which gave her a 50% greater chance of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Despite being diagnosed with the cancer, and with less than a 35% chance of living five years, Sandlaufer is beating the odds.
The road to cancer treatment – Sandlaufer underwent chemotherapy to tackle her cancer but it was an episode of Vital Signs that introduced her to new research being conducted by scientists at Yale University. The team are in search of new, targeted treatments for cancer.
The road to cancer treatment – After the show, Sandlaufer called the scientists at Yale and found she was eligible to take part in a new trial underway to find new treatments for ovarian cancer. Sandlaufer is pictured here on her first day of treatment with teal nails -- the color associated with ovarian cancer.
The road to cancer treatment – The new therapy being trialled works by attacking cancer cells in a targeted manner, unlike chemotherapy which uses a blanket approach to attacking cells and can kill healthy, as well as cancerous, cells during therapy. A breakthrough in treatment for ovarian cancer hasn't been found for over 20 years.
The road to cancer treatment – After six treatments as part of the trial, her cancer is stable and has not grown. Sandlaufer will now continue treatment for another six weeks before undergoing a second evaluation. She remains optimistic and open saying "one day at a time I will keep trying until we find something that will work, even temporarily."