In 2011, Oriana Sousa, a Portuguese psychologist who is now 28 year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. When the symptoms started doctors initially failed to diagnose the cancer. For several months Oriana suffered from frequent constipation and fatigue. She was also thirsty all the time. Then she started to have terrible abdominal pain and began vomiting. Her doctor told her she was fine and she shouldn’t worry. Her aunt who is a nurse recommended that she see visit another doctor. The new doctor performed a CT scan and found a massive tumor. Oriana was diagnosed with a very rare, aggressive and fatal form of ovarian cancer.
Immunotherapy shrank the tumor to the surprise of the doctors
During several years Oriana went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to try to eradicate the tumor however new tumors would grow back. Then Oriana convinced her doctor to give her nivolumab, an immunotherapy drug that was not supposed to be used on her tumor. The tumor reacted immediately and shrank. As she continued to take the drug the tumor shrank to the point that she has no more evidence of the disease. Now doctors and researchers are trying to figure out why they were wrong.
Read more in the New York Times
Picture of a mall cell carcinoma of the ovary hypercalcemic : courtesy of Wikipedia