Fiona RawlinsonSkin Cancer |  Diagnosed 2017

I try to think of things that make me happy and make plans to one day do some fun activities.

Fiona's Story

In June 2017 I was diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of unknown origin, there were 10 mets spread in groin lymph nodes & lungs (previous hysterectomy & omentectomy Nov 2016 and Feb 2017 for early stage ovarian grandulosa cell tumor meant that further testing to see if SCC originated from the cervix was not possible, the numerous SCC that have been removed surgically from my skin had clear margins).

Initial treatment started with 26 weekly infusions of combined chemo Cetuximab. When 5 mets were left, one in groin began growing and started to fungate. After two weeks of radiation, the tumors mutated and in March 2018 they started growing rapidly.  In the 3 weeks while I waited for surgery, the fungated tumor grew so rapidly it ruptured through the skin, leaking fluids and awful smell. April 2018 they surgically removed a 1.8lb tumor. A few weeks later another new rapidly growing tumor was surgically removed from my thigh.

May 2018 is when I stared Keytruda. I was able to feel another rapidly growing tumor in my groin start to shrink. Now, May 2019, after one year of keytruda, I have no new tumors and the remaining aare under control. I plan to continue treatment for another year, since all is going well.

Question and Answers

How and when did you first learn you had cancer?

June 2017 after a minor car accident I felt a painful lump and went to see the Doctor. I was refereed to local Hospital, had MRI and Oncologist delivered the news.

How did you learn about immunotherapy and why did you decide to do it?

I searced online when targeted chemo was no longer working. I was desperate to try anything that would buy me time. Getting financial help from family meant I could try immunotherapy.

What was treatment like? Did you have any side effects?

I felt a huge relief to start immunotherapy treatment. I saw how the immunotherapy was shrinking the tumors by drawing a circle on the skin above the largest remaining tumor, and watching it shrink after the first two immunotherapy infusions.

I had some minor side effects initially, which have increased slightly as treatment has progressed.

How did immunotherapy compare to other treatments you may have received, if any?

Immunotherapy treatment is much easier than chemo or radiation.

Are there things that surprise you about the cancer experience?

Yes, I am surprised by how wonderful some people are and also how cruel other people can be.

What would you want another patient to know about immunotherapy or about participating in a clinical trial?

There are people who's cancer is going into remission and you could be one of them

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Patient education information supported by a charitable donation from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.