Woman given 5% survival rate credits immunotherapy for beating cancer

A Phoenix woman had stage 4 breast cancer and had only a 5% chance to live but thanks to immunotherapy, she's now cancer-free.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 10:45 AM EDT
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PHONEIX (3TV/CBS 5/Gray News) – Meghan Reilly was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 after she began having pain in her bones. Doctors said she’d most likely die within five years.

“I was just numb,” Reilly told AZ Family. “I felt like they had to have it wrong. There was no way that was happening to me...I would go on Google, and I just saw my odds, and I would try to find stories of beating stage four cancer, and unfortunately, there’s not a lot out there.”

Doctors told Reilly the cancer had spread to her lungs, liver, kidneys, and spine. She was told she only had a 5% chance of living beyond five years.

At the time, the young mom felt like there wasn’t a lot of hope.

Reilly said chemotherapy helped to clear the cancer on her liver, but after about eight months it stopped working.

It was just kind of staying there, and the chemotherapy was really taking a toll on me,” Reilly said. “That’s when my doctor decided I would be a great candidate for immunotherapy, which at the time, it was only used for certain types of lung cancer and skin cancer.”

Reilly started getting immunotherapy called KEYTRUDA in South Carolina and The Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Goodyear.

“It’s exactly like how chemotherapy is infused,” said Reilly. “It’s through a port because I do have a port. It takes about 30 minutes, and that’s it. It’s just a liquid.”

She said the immunotherapy worked, and the best news was that it had no adverse side effects. Two weeks ago, she got amazing news when scans came back showing the cancer was no longer there.

“She said, ‘you have what we call no evidence of disease, meaning that the scans and blood work shows there’s no evidence of disease in your body,’” Reilly explained. “She said that this would have never happened with chemotherapy. Immunotherapy is 100% to credit for this.”

Reilly is continuing to get the same treatments every six weeks, and that’s her decision.

“She basically said there’s just no info on what the next step is here because it’s so new,” Reilly said. “They’re just taking educated guesses to try and guess what’s going to happen, so in a sense, we’re writing the book as we go.”

While Reilly does not know what’s next in her journey, she does believe prayers and immunotherapy restored her health.

“It’s like winning the lottery, but the life lottery,” Reilly said. “It’s hard to describe. It’s the most incredible feeling. It’s something I prayed for years and years and years.”

Now, she hopes to share her story with others going through the same thing.

“I just want people to understand; there’s hope,” Reilly said. “There are so many options for you, and never give up on it. Right when you think you can’t go on, that’s when the miracle happens.”

You can watch more of Reilly’s story on her YouTube channel.

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