Patient With Lung Cancer ‘Stays One Step Ahead’ of His Rare Mutation


A man with lung cancer shares how learning about his EGFR exon 20 insertion mutation soon after being diagnosed has allowed him to be aggressive when pursuing a cancer treatment tailored to his rare mutation.

Jeffery Battles, a 53-year-old with stage 4 lung cancer, says that he feels lucky to know that he has a rare genetic mutation.

The father of three from Connie Lake, Pennsylvania, wasn’t expecting lung cancer to become part of his life. Even when he started experiencing chest pains in February 2021, Battles originally dismissed the pains as lingering symptoms from an earlier case of COVID-19.

Lung cancer survivor Jeff Battles

Jeff Battles said that knowing about his EGFR exon 20 insertion mutation has helped him be proactive in his lung cancer treatment.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Stack Photography

Once he finally saw his doctor, he was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer. He then immediately underwent genetic testing, which revealed that Battles had an EGFR exon 20 insertion mutation — information his doctors used to modify his cancer treatment.

EGFR exon 20 insertion mutation is a mutation in the cells that increases the growth of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a protein on cells that helps cancer cells grow. Of note, cancers with an EGFR exon 20 insertion mutation doesn’t respond to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), the typical treatment for EGFR-positive lung cancer.

In today’s episode of “Cancer Horizons,” Battles describes how he feels fortunate to know the status of his mutation, and how it helped him be proactive with his cancer treatment, finding support from his family and online communities.

Read more about Battles' story and how new treatments may stall lung cancer progression in patients with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations in this feature from our Lung Cancer 2 Special Issue.

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