Breast Cancer Survival Stories
Dr. Robert Nagourney
Rational Therapeutics

The breast cancer survival stories on this page are excerpted from those patients with advanced breast cancer that received customized chemotherapy guided by the tumor functional screening methodology used by Dr. Robert Nagourney of Rational Therapeutics. 

A more detailed discussion of standard of care chemotherapy and of the customized chemotherapy guided by Dr. Nagourney’s technology can be found on our Cancer Therapy Options page. One of our recommended Right Doctors, Dr. Keith Block uses the services of Rational Therapeutics to develop his customized integrated therapy tailored to each cancer patient he treats. 

Dr. Block has this to say about Dr. Nagourney:
“Dr. Robert Nagourney has earned international recognition as the most prominent leader in the field of chemosensitivity testing.  For over two decades, my medical staff and I have included his chemosensitivity assay as an invaluable tool in helping us select the optimal chemotherapy regimen for our patients. A more primitive proliferative assay led many to reject such testing early on. However, Dr. Nagourney's pioneering work, developing instead a more prominent apoptotic (programmed cell death) assay, has benefitted innumerable cancer patients and played a pivotal role in their treatment response and treatment outcome. I believe all patients deserve the quality of information that Robert's testing provides, and that in the future, oncology practices will routinely incorporate such testing into the optimal care for patients.”

And now for the Breast Cancer Survival Stories.

Breast Cancer Survival Stories-Cindy
Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Cindy's saga began in 2011 when she underwent surgery for triple negative breast cancer and 4 of 18 lymph nodes were positive. She received radiation to avoid recurrence.

She remained well until 2013 when a chest wall recurrence was documented by biopsy at Duke University in North Carolina. After receiving initial therapy at Duke, she traveled to Southern California to receive care under one of the leading breast cancer specialists in the nation. From that point, Cindy received virtually every chemotherapy used in this disease.

In February of 2014, Cindy requested an opinion at Rational Therapeutics.  In addition to the enormous volume of disease covering her entire chest, a lymph node was identified in the left axilla. She had a surgical biopsy of the lymph node and submitted tissue to our laboratory for analysis where we explored every conventional and experimental option possible.

With so many treatments already administered, Dr. Nagourney was surprised and delighted to find a relatively mild, 3-drug combination that worked perfectly for her disease. Treatment was initiated immediately. Cindy rented an apartment near the Rational Therapeutic office in Southern California so that she could continue the treatment under Dr. Nagourney’s care.

The results could not have been more dramatic. Complete resolution of all measurable disease, healing of the massive chest wounds, and finally normalization of her tumor markers. With this excellent result, Cindy has been able to return to her home. She continues to receive this novel combination of chemotherapy drugs under the care of her local physician,

NOTE:  The above account was excerpted and summarized from

Breast Cancer Survival Stories-Kathy
Metastatic Breast Cancer-Stage IV

In January of 2003, Kathy felt a lump in her right breast. After seeking medical advice, a biopsy was performed and her worst fears were confirmed. Kathy, a 45-year-old mother of three, had aggressive breast cancer.

When she went for surgery, however, things went from bad to worse. Kathy had metastatic disease with documented involvement of the liver. Despite advances in breast cancer management, metastatic disease was still considered incurable. For that reason, the doctors who were managing Kathy faced a serious dilemma. Should they use strong combinations of chemotherapy to hope against the odds that they could eliminate the disease in the liver, or recognizing the low likelihood of cure, manage Kathy with mild treatments, hoping to preserve the quality of the time she had left?

Having known of the work of Dr. Robert Nagourney, director of Rational Therapeutics in Long Beach, CA, Kathy asked her physicians in Cincinnati to send a portion of her cancer to the California based laboratory. She then traveled to California for an opinion with Dr. Nagourney.

After a lengthy review of the options, Dr. Nagourney explained that her highly favorable drug sensitivity profile measured in his laboratory offered a rationale for strong drug combinations. Dr. Nagourney reiterated to Kathy at the time of their meeting that many physicians would prefer “milder” therapies. When asked whether she wanted to try for the best possible outcome with stronger combinations, Kathy said, in no uncertain terms, that she wanted to “Go for it!”

Working in close collaboration with Kathy’s Cincinnati based oncologist, with whom Dr. Nagourney had previously shared patients, a series of treatments incorporating the best possible drugs and combinations for Kathy was administered. The response was dramatic, with complete resolution of all detectable disease. Today Kathy remains in complete remission on a mild maintenance therapy with the monoclonal antibody, Herceptin.
 NOTE:  The above account was excerpted and summarized from

Breast Cancer Survival Stories-Jody
Breast Cancer-Stage II

When Jody, who is a Registered Nurse, was diagnosed with breast cancer, her well-respected oncologist recommended a standard course of treatment. But, Jody knew she didn’t want a standard protocol for her treatment; she wanted a more personalized approach to her care.

“I wanted specific treatment for MY breast cancer. Robert Nagourney, MD, evaluated my cells and his recommendations for chemotherapy were well received by my treating oncologist. Dr. Nagourney’s EVA-PCD platform showed that the original plan for treatment would have been ineffective. One of the planned chemotherapies was not at all active with my breast cancer cells and the other two were not effective on my cancer when administered together and this was the plan!
I thank God that I was referred to Dr. Nagourney by another amazing miracle woman who is under his care and has been surviving stage 4 lung cancer for more than five great years! I know that I am cured because of his expertise, knowledge and belief that cancer is not simple. It does not react the same way in each person. We need to be evaluated individually and learn exactly what treatment will bring us the best outcome. This can ONLY be done by an assay evaluation for individual cell response to each chemotherapy.

PLEASE refer anyone with a cancer diagnosis to Dr. Nagourney. He saves lives. I know because he saved MINE!”
 NOTE:  The above account was excerpted and summarized from

Breast Cancer Survival Stories-Shelly
Triple Negative Breast Cancer-Stage III

"You have Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer" were words that I never dreamed I would hear. However, in December 2009, a nice female doctor delivered those very words to me. After undergoing a mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, CT Scan, PET Scan and a biopsy, I was told that I had a very aggressive kind of cancer that would need to be treated aggressively. My name is Shelly.  I'm a wife, a mother of three beautiful children and a dance teacher in the Huntington Beach, CA area.

I began my chemo on December 27, 2009 and words cannot describe the nausea, body aches and dizziness that I felt on that day and after many of the treatments that followed, it got worse. I would go in for treatment on a Tuesday and it took roughly four to six days to feel just ok again. I lost all of my hair, had mouth sores and it really took its toll on my self-image.

After eight treatments I was done with chemo and had my double mastectomy operation in May 2010. After the operation, I was informed that my breast tissue would need to be sent to Dr. Nagourney at Rational Therapeutics to be tested to see what chemo would work better on my kind of cancer, because it appeared that the previous chemo treatment did not work. 

I was scared to death to hear that I was going to go through more chemo and they also wanted to add radiation to my treatment. After Dr. Nagourney's specialized chemo cocktail was given to me, I found it to be easier on my body and I didn't lose my hair. After eight more rounds of Dr. Nagourney's chemo and six weeks of radiation, I was able to finally have my reconstruction surgery.

I have been cancer free ever since. I truly believe that Dr. Nagourney found the perfect chemo treatment designed just for my body and saved my life. That is why I am here today!
 NOTE:  The above account was excerpted and summarized from

Additional Cancer Survival Stories

For additional breast cancer survival stories see Breast Cancer Stories-Patients of Dr. Keith Block

For cancer survivor stories of people with other types of cancer see our Cancer Survivor Stories page