Colon Cancer Survivor Stories
Dr. Robert Nagourney
Rational Therapeutics

The colon cancer survivor stories on this page are excerpted from that of patients with advanced colon 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 Colon Cancer Survivor Stories.

Colon Cancer Survivor Stories-Jeff
ColoRectal Cancer-Stage IV

I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in late August 2013. On September 4, 2013, I was scheduled for surgery to remove the large tumor in my lower colon. Prior to the surgery, my wife and I made an appointment to consult with Dr. Nagourney at Rational Therapeutics. Dr. Nagourney performed a comprehensive examination, reviewed all the imaging, tests, and notes that had been compiled since my diagnosis. He recommended that we submit tissue obtained during surgery to Rational Therapeutics for testing.

The testing performed showed that my cancer cells were responsive to both the FOLFOX and FOLFIRI chemotherapy regimens, and that the use of these agents should be highly effective. At our request, Dr. Nagourney referred us to an oncologist at Scripps Memorial in La Jolla, CA who was familiar with the techniques used at Rational Therapeutics.

To date, I have had 10 treatments (cycles), during which I have had two PET CT scans performed since chemotherapy began last October. In the first scan (late December 2013), the metastases in my liver and lungs were less than 50% of their original size, and the level of hyper metabolic activity shown was dramatically reduced, in some areas to that of normal tissue! I received the results of my second PET CT on 3/17/14. Further reduction of tumor size(s) continues, and the hyper metabolic activity level continues to decline. Both studies have shown that no new areas of cancer are detected, and that the original surgery site is free of any cancer and that all margins are clear.

In summary, my outcome to date is excellent. The confidence and direction in chemotherapy regime(s) gained by the testing performed at Rational Therapeutics resulted in highly directed choice of chemotherapy agents. This information has helped my team develop both a first line, and, if necessary, a second line strategy in fighting what statistically is a very difficult cancer to beat. The strategy is working.
 NOTE:  The above account was excerpted and summarized from

Colon Cancer Survivor Stories-Walt
ColoRectal Cancer-Stage IV

Early in 2000, Walt began experiencing some GI symptoms. But they were intermittent and like most of us would do, he brushed it off to a passing difficulty. Then his physician found, through routine blood tests, that he was very anemic. A colonoscopy was ordered. The test revealed the presence of a tumor in his colon. A follow-up CT gave doctors the impression that it had spread.

In July 2000, Walt underwent surgery to remove the tumor and the surrounding lymph nodes. Luckily they showed that the cancer had not metastasized. Walt underwent surgery in September and a sample of his tumor was sent immediately to Rational Therapeutics for functional chemosensitivity testing. This is what Walt would like others with cancer to know about his experience.

“When I learned I had cancer, I did research. A good friend of mine told me about Rational Therapeutics and Dr. Robert Nagourney in Long Beach, California. Before I had surgery, I went to see Dr. Nagourney and decided that having my tumor tested to determine which chemotherapy would provide the most effective course of treatment was definitely the way to go.”

“The complication is that I live in Orange County, not very far from Long Beach. But my surgeon preferred I go to a more local oncologist – someone he knew. This oncologist wanted me to have a course of radiation followed by the standard chemotherapy protocol for colon cancer. I wanted otherwise. The surgeon was very resistant to my plan, but eventually came around.”

“On the day of my surgery, while I was waiting in the pre-op area chatting with the nurses, I was fully prepared for what lay ahead. With me on the gurney was the tumor sample kit supplied by Rational Therapeutics. When a nurse arrived from surgery to take me to the OR, she asked what the kit was. I explained its purpose and she responded very negatively. ‘We can’t take that into the OR,’ was her reply. ‘Yes, you can,’ was mine. We went back and forth and I became a bit agitated. I made it clear that if the kit didn’t go with me and get sent off with the sample needed, then I wasn’t having surgery.”

“The pre-op nurses finally pulled her aside because their patient (me) was supposed to be relaxing, keeping my blood pressure low, etc. They got the OR nurse to agree to let the doctor decide. Soon the surgeon came in and assured her that he knew about the kit and there was no problem to bring it into the room.”

"So, if I have anything to tell someone who is battling cancer, it is this:
1. Do your homework
2. Take charge of your care and don’t let anyone push you around – stick to your guns!
3. I took charge and I’m doing just great 15 years later."

 NOTE:  The above account was excerpted and summarized from

Additional Colon Cancer Survivor Stories

For additional colon cancer survivor stories see Colon Cancer Survivor Stories-Patients of Dr. Keith Block

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