Cancer is a diagnosis that in most cases reads like a death sentence. And there isn’t a family where a close person, a friend, a neighbor or a family member has not heard in their lifetime this terrible verdict from their doctor.
Every year cancer claims more than 8 million lives worldwide, and every year more than 14 new cases are diagnosed. World Health Organization believes that the number of cancer cases will increase by 70% in the next 20 years. Among the most common types of cancer are the ones that affect lungs, the breasts, the digestive tract and the prostate. They make up 42% of all cancer cases worldwide, according toGloboscan, a database maintained by the International Association of Cancer Registries.
The numbers quoted here are depressing, of course, since based on the latest research over 90% of all cancer cases can be completely cured if detected at the earliest stage. It turns out that it isn’t all about how effective treatment is, it is also about how early on the doctors are able to detect the pathologicalcancer cell masses.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that in Sacramento, our sunlit capital, we have a cutting-edge technology capable of detecting up to 50 most common cancer types (of around 200 that are known to man) by way of a simple blood draw with results ready in just a couple of days. In order to learn about this revolutionary technology first-hand, I met with Drisha Leggitt who represents Anpac Bio-Medical Science Company in the US.
Drisha, before meeting with you I decided, of course, to learn more about both the company, Anpac-Bio, and about you. My first question, however, will be about you. You overcame 4th stage cancer. Is it true?
Yes, that is true. At the age of 29, just a few days before my birthday, I received such a terrible diagnosis that I didn’t want to believe it. It was a nightmare come true – Hodgkins lymphoma, 4th stage. I was young, at the peak of my strength, and it was simply impossible to believe such a diagnosis. What made things worse was the fact that my medical insurance wouldn’t cover the expensive treatment that could save me. The straw I grasped was Leukemia & Lymphoma Society which paid for my chemotherapy through their Emergency Patient Assistance program.
Enormous amounts of chemo helped turn the disease back and destroy it. Although, besides medicinal therapy, it was mostly the Lord and the thousands of people who prayed for my healing that helped me.
Recently I celebrated my 55th birthday, and the fact that my work involves helping cancer patients is just fantastic!
The reason is, the dream of my life, after all the horrors I went through, was the desire to make it so that in the 21st century a cancer diagnosis would not sound like a death sentence.
Your story gives me goosebumps. So, how did fate bring you to work for Anpac-Bio?
As you have rightly said it, Olga, it was fate that brought me there. I can find no other explanation. I was employed in marketing, I had my own thriving company, my staff, and I did not purposefully look for information on companies that developed technologies for treating or diagnosing oncological diseases.
My black ordeal came when my friend and colleague was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She was in her prime, with two children, a loving husband… A year later, she was gone.
It was horrible, horrible to have been unable to help her, to see the disease gain the upper hand, to realize that in our times we are still powerless and cannot overcome cancer, especially if it is discovered late.
Literally several days after her death there was an award ceremony in New York where I was nominated for a Wow! Award. To be honest, I had no desire to go but my husband and the husband of my diseased friend insisted on me going. When I bought a ticket at the last minute, I got a seat on the plane right next to a person who was directly connected to Anpac-Bio. I won’t torment you with a long story, but soon I was heading the company’s branch in USA.
What is so unique about the early diagnostics technology and how effective is this method?
Liquid biopsy technology was developed in China by a brilliant engineer and a leading inventor, Doctor Chris Yu who during his career of 20 years has patented over 100 inventions that attracted more than 3 billion dollars in investments.
His unique early cancer diagnostic method has been patented in China and tested on more than 100, 000 individuals. For the testing, all you need is 2 ml of blood, and the results are ready within a few days.
The accuracu of this method not only allows to detect the presence of a cancerous growth during the 1st stage or even during precancerous stage, but also to isolate the organ where the cancer appeared. The problem is, very often traditional tests and methods only give a guaranteed and precise result at the later stages, yet do not give you the original cancer location, since, as is well known, cancer very often metastasizes.
It sounds so inspiring that I want to go today and give my blood sample for testing. By the way, can this be done yet?
Yes, but presently it is not covered by insurance. The thing is, in spite of tens of thousands of confirmed cases, the Federal Drug Administration can only grant permission for this method after clinical tests that must be performed on U.S. soil.
Currently, we are working with the UC Davis Child Family Institute where a two-year big scale testing is already under way. After it is over, we will be granted the FDA permission, and then the test will be covered by insurance companies. As for now, anybody can come and pay for the test out of pocket. The price is quite affordable, in my opinion: $400.
Drisha, but does this method make it posssible to determine if the treatment prescribed by the doctor is actually effective in those cases where oncotherapy has already begun?
That’s a wonderful question, and thank you, Olga, for it. Yes, it is yet another amazing option that has become available thanks to liquid biopsy. Because what happens now, usually? An individual gets diagnosed with cancer. Then it is either surgery or sessions of chemo- and radiotherapy, and sometimes both.
It goes without saying that the treatment alone leaves most patients in a vegetative state. But with our analysis, after the very first session of chemo- or radiotherapy it is possible to tell if the selected treatment course is, in fact, working, whether the cancer cells have responded to treatment or they have continued their growth and development. This is something that is incredibly important to know when a person’s life is at stake.
As far as I know, this year you have also been nominated for the Woman of the Year award given by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. What is important for you regarding this nomination, and what is the main ideaof this award?
Last month I celebrated my 55th birthday which in itself would not have been remarkable if it hadn’t coincided with the 25th anniversary of my victory over my terrible diagnosis. By paying for my treatment, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society literally saved my life 25 years ago. The idea behind this nomination is that the nominee must raise the money that will go toward financing programs aimed at saving the lives of those patients who have no more opportunities and whose last chance is the assistance provided by this organization.
From now and until May 12 of this year, every donated dollar is not only a vote for me but also help for those who lost all hope of getting treatment! I have to raise at least $250,000 to beat last year’s record and potentially become the first female patient who has both been saved by this organization and awarded the national Woman of the Year title!
Drisha, from the bottom of my heart I wish you success and I hope that our Slavic community supports you and votes for you in this nomination. What are your wishes for our readers?
Firstly, I am grateful to you for the opportunity to share about the cutting-edge technologies that are already available and, I am positive, will help save many lives in the Slavic community.
Secondly, my dream is that our children and grandchildren never have to endure the horror awaiting those who receive the oncological verdict.
May cancer become a thing of the past, and may this word never again cause people to shudder and fear for the life of their loved ones.
I would be very happy if your readers helped me raise the money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and shared with their friends, neighbors and colleagues the news that cancer can be detected at the earliest stages due to the unique technology at Anpac Bio-Medical Science Company.
You may vote for and donate to Drisha Leggitt at: www.bit.ly/drisha-lls
Every dollar equals 1 vote!