Edwin Asturizaga Patient Testimonial
Edwin Asturizaga worked in the fast-paced banking industry for two decades before retiring to open a small consulting company and lead a quieter life. A dedicated family man, he enjoys spending time with his wife and young son at home in Bolivia, as well as learning new things and traveling to explore new destinations.
In February 2020, at just 47 years of age, Edwin got the surprise of his life – he was diagnosed with cancer. While being treated for kidney stones, his doctor found a mass in his lungs through PET scan results. After only experiencing minor back pains, Edwin was shocked to be diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.
“How could this be?” I have never been a smoker and have no family history of cancer,” he thought.
Edwin’s doctor began a standard regimen of chemotherapy and used a lab in Spain to test for the ALK gene commonly found in non-small cell lung cancer, an aggressive form of cancer. After six long weeks, the results of the 7-panel genetic test came back inconclusive because not enough tumor tissue was sent. Hopeful they could get confirmation of the ALK gene fusion, his doctor sent another sample from Edwin’s lymph nodes for testing, but again, no ALK fusion was found.
By August of 2020, and after months of chemo, Edwin’s health had declined, he was losing weight rapidly and suffering liver damage. At that point, his doctor recommended that he seek palliative care options. Not satisfied with his doctor’s defeatist approach, Edwin did some research of his own, and thought, “In this day and age with technology, there have to be more treatment options out there.”
He soon came across a website that rated Caris Life Sciences’ molecular profiling test as the best comprehensive cancer testing platform available for patients. He was able to find a new oncologist in Bolivia through Milliet Medical, Caris’ distributor in the territory, and within two weeks of sending a tissue sample, he received an ALK positive result for gene fusion.
The report from the Caris test altered Edwin’s treatment plan to one better suited to fight his actual cancer type. Within months of starting the new treatment, he began to feel better, he was gaining weight, and most importantly – his tumor shrank from 6 centimeters to a few millimeters. Grateful that advanced technologies exist to help patients like him fight cancer, Edwin wants others to know there is hope and opportunity with molecular profiling.
Today, Edwin is thankful to be able to share his experience and let others know that molecular profiling may benefit them and change their treatment course, while spreading the word about Caris in both his home country of Bolivia and around the world. Edwin actively participates in improving therapies for his disease through an online community called the “ALK Positive Club.” This global community of over 2,500 members support scientists by sharing experiences with treatments with the hope of advancing therapies and informing patients of their options.
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