SARASOTA – The FDA has just cleared an entirely new approach to treating cancer, but one Suncoast oncologist has been successfully using the treatment, off–label with a compassionate care basis, for almost two years.

“Without this drug I would not be here,” says Lorayne Walsh. She was diagnosed with carcinoma sarcoma in her kidney on September 17, 2015.

Thanks to Keytruda immunotherapy, she’s been cancer free for a year and half. “My treatments have been painless, the staff here has been wonderful and I look forward to many years of life, which I could not have said had I not been on Keytruda,” says Walsh.

The Medical Director of Cancer Center Sarasota-Manatee, Oncologist Steve Mamus says our body is asleep at the wheel when it comes to recognizing a cancer tumor. “The drug works by making cancers visible to your immune system,” he explains.

This is the first time the FDA has approved a cancer drug not based on the tissue type, but based off the genetic makeup of the tumor. Meaning it’s much more selective than chemo, and has less side effects.

“This must be a wonderful medical recipe because I have had no nausea,” says Walsh. With a head full of hair she still feels like herself.

Even though she lost a kidney, adrenal gland, and part of her diaphragm, Walsh is grateful and thankful to God, Dr. Mamus, and his staff.

“It’s an IV every 3 weeks, which I’m very happy to take an hour and a half or two and a half hours of my life to have,” she says. “It has saved so many lives, it has saved my life and I’m sure it will save so many more.”

Walsh encourages other cancer patients to ask their doctor about Keytruda, because not all physicians have adopted the treatment just yet.

Since he started using the drug almost two years ago, Dr. Mamus has 12 patients in remission. For more information you can call his office (941) 923-1872 or visit his website.