At age 44, Christine Sable had few worries about her cancer risk, especially since no one in her immediate or extended family had a history of cancer. This mother of two, wife, and full-time real estate professional was leading an active, healthy life. But then she received some shocking news that sent her and her family into a tailspin.
After a few months of minor, persisting symptoms—mild abdominal discomfort that she easily could have ignored—Christine made what she thought would be a routine visit to her doctor. Later that week, she learned she had advanced ovarian cancer, a bleak diagnosis from which more than half of women diagnosed at this stage ultimately do not recover.
During the following year, Christine endured major surgery and debilitating chemotherapy before finally enrolling in an ovarian cancer vaccine clinical trial led by CRI researcher Dr. Kunle Odunsi at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. The trial was part of the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative, a joint program between the Cancer Research Institute and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research to develop therapeutic cancer vaccines.
Ten years later, Christine remains free of ovarian cancer. She is beating the odds, and believes her immune system is keeping her healthy. She is active in the ovarian cancer patient community, where she spreads awareness of the disease and shares her own treatment experiences. To Christine, being aware of your symptoms and assuming a responsibility for your health are crucial to getting yourself the best treatment and staying free from cancer.
Originally published September 15, 2009. Updated February 12, 2013.