January 24, 2024

New treatment renews cancer patient’s hope for enjoyable life

An FDA-approved cancer treatment, recently licensed for treatments at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center, is giving hope to people suffering from a type of cancer that develops in the gastrointestinal tract.

For Mary Jane Diehm, 75, a resident of Jackson, New Jersey, this was very good news.

Four years ago, Diehm started to develop persistent gastrointestinal issues that led her to seek help from John Conti, MD, medical director of the Cancer Program at Mountainside Medical Center.

"Before treatment, my daily life was significantly impacted by my health struggles," Diehm recalled. "But the support I received from the physicians and staff at Mountainside changed everything."

It was initially thought that Diehm suffered from colon cancer, but exams and tests later showed a more complex medical condition involving advanced cancerous tumors that developed in her gastrointestinal tract and liver.

Under the care of Dr. Conti and Brett Lewis, MD, PhD, medical director of radiation oncology at Mountainside Medical Center, Diehm underwent the newly approved radiation treatment called peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PPRT) using the drug LUTATHERA®. The drug is administered by intravenous (IV) infusion in four doses, each spaced eight to sixteen weeks apart.

Mountainside Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the area approved to use LUTATHERA® in treatments.

“I am excited that Mountainside received licensure to administer PPRT treatment,” said Dr. Lewis. “Bringing the latest, targeted cancer therapies to the hospital means that our local community does not need to travel out of the area to receive the advanced care they need.”

"They were incredibly supportive, caring and genuinely concerned during my treatments,” said Diehm. “They weren't just medically adept, they offered hugs, kindness and unwavering dedication to my well-being," she recalled.

“I am feeling incredibly fine,” said Diehm. “I attribute this feeling to all of my doctors.”

Diehm is doing so well after the treatments that she has been able to renew one of her favorite hobbies – traveling. She recently returned from an international trip where she enjoyed wandering through the rolling hills of southern Ireland.

“It was absolutely lovely,” she said. “I am looking forward to more travels soon.”

Mountainside Medical Center’s Radiology Department also offers specific imaging to help diagnose neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) with Ga68 Dotatate NETSPOT PET/CTs. Read more at the Radiation Oncology web page.

For more information regarding Mountainside Medical Center's cancer services visit the Cancer Program’s web page.

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