Monroe native Wanda Poche, who has fought metastatic (advanced Stage IV) lung cancer since fall 2014, says her disease wasn’t responding to chemotherapy, so when her oncologist suggested immunotherapy, she was willing to try it. Now nearly one-and-a-half years after starting an immunotherapy drug, her scans show no evidence of cancer. Wanda is now feeling strong and independent and recently spent Thanksgiving with her brother and his family in Monroe.
“This holiday season will be the best ever because I have so very much to be grateful for,” said Wanda. “In the new year, I want to continue doing what I do best: make people laugh. I also want to travel, dance and fish. I’ve got so much life left to live and with the help of God, Dr. Cataldo and immunotherapy, I’m going to do just that.”
While all drugs come with side effects, immunotherapy is shown to be less harsh than those that accompany other therapies. Still under treatment, Wanda says she has experienced no side effects and believes this new therapy could provide hope for so many other cancer patients in the local area.
Vince Cataldo, MD, is Wanda’s medical oncologist at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. He says that he believes the future of cancer treatment is in immunotherapy. Dr. Cataldo was studying at MD Anderson when modern research on immunotherapy began developing. He became fascinated with this approach to treating cancer and is thrilled to offer it to his patients today.
“I see a day when immunotherapy will be the frontline [first] treatment option for many cancer patients with multiple cancer types,” said Dr. Cataldo. “For now, it’s giving physicians another tool for patients who aren’t responding to traditional treatments and providing patients with hope that this could be the answer they’ve been seeking.”
For more information, visit mbpolol.org/immunotherapy.