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June 16, 2017 06:28 PM

Precision Oncology Targeting Cancer

Sioux Falls

The fight with cancer can be a long and hard battle, but thanks to a new treatment called "Precision Oncology", one woman who was fighting stage three breast cancer is now cancer free.

Mary Bowden and her husband Doug retired to Arizona to live out their golden years. Only when Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer, she couldn't find the latest treatment there that she felt could save her life. So they returned home to Sioux Falls.

"Whenever you hear you have cancer, it is devastating. It never is what you want to hear and it sure wasn't on my bucket list," cancer survivor Mary Bowden said.

Mary Bowden felt a lump under her right arm just before she was scheduled for her annual mammogram. That screening actually found two tumors, one larger than a ping pong ball.

"It was only 13 months since my last mammogram, so I wasn't that worried. But it tells you that mammograms are important and self-exams are important and to get checked very regularly," Bowden said.

When Bowden asked her Arizona doctor to have the tumors genetically tested, he told her genetic testing was just a fad. So she came back to Sioux Falls to see Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones, who didn't object to genetic testing.

"If you are diagnosed with cancer, you must have your oncology sequence based on your tumor's genome. Because that will transform the treatment of the disease and make it, God willing, curable." Dr. Leyland-Jones said.

Genome mapping allows researchers to identify mutations in a patient's DNA. From there, doctors can identify what treatment will work best.

"Now we are tackling cancers much more by using targeted therapy and immuno therapy, and reducing the amount of chemotherapy we are giving," Dr. Leyland-Jones said.

Bowden's personalized treatment will include radiation in a month, after that she is looking forward to getting back to her bucket list.

"I had the most amazing support crew, my husband and kids were with me every step of the way,"Bowden said.

Bowden's treatments started back in November. Her last tests showed she is now cancer free, even though her treatment still continues.

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