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On Oct. 9, 2018, Richard Seaton went in for his annual physical, expecting a clean bill of health. While he felt fine overall, he was experiencing some shortness of breath.
“My provider recommended that I make an appointment for a chest X-ray to see what was going on,” Richard explains. “But they couldn’t read it because I had a pleural effusion—fluid between my chest lining and lungs.”
After removing the fluid, Richard was sent for a second X-ray, which was sent to Stephen Liu, MD, director of Thoracic Oncology and head of Developmental Therapeutics at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
Just a few days later, Richard had his first appointment with Dr. Liu. After further testing, he was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). He was not a smoker.
“Dr. Liu became a partner in my cancer journey,” Richard says. “He looked me in the eye and said, ‘I can’t cure you, but I think I can help you.’ He spent time with me…something we all dream about. He delivered hope.”
Dr. Liu is noted for his research focusing on the development of novel therapeutic agents and innovative combinations for the treatment of advanced thoracic malignancies.
“Through molecular testing, Dr. Liu identified a RET gene mutation, which is the underlying driver in a small portion of NSCLC cases, and said I was an ideal candidate for a new targeted therapy,” says Richard.
Now, more than four years later, Richard is doing well. While he is not cancer free…his cancer is dormant. “I am extremely fortunate to have Dr. Lui as my doctor,” he says. “Today, whenever I see him, he takes the time to speak with me about my worries, and to share the joy.”
To acknowledge the wonderful care he received, Richard made a generous philanthropic gift to the cancer program at the hospital. “The care that Dr. Liu and the entire team at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital provides is incredible. I am so grateful.”