Turning Six Months into Six Years and Beyond


When Ida Yaghoobians was 51 and working as a receptionist in a doctor’s office, she thought the reappearing blood in her stool was hemorrhoids. A close friend had persistently pushed her to get a colonoscopy. After a year, she finally agreed. The screening revealed a malignant tumor. Subsequent scans showed that the cancer had spread to her liver, lungs and pelvic region – to the point of being inoperable. Her oncologist said she had six months to live. This was eight years ago. After a couple of chemotherapy sessions at a local hospital, Yaghoobians transferred to City of Hope, where she met Dr. Marwin Fakih, a nationally renowned colorectal medical oncologist. She received intensive chemotherapy, surgery and more chemo. Cancer returned to her pelvis and spread to her lungs. She underwent a 14-hour surgery involving five surgeons, where her rectum, anus, bladder, uterus and vagina were all removed. She had two ostomy bags outside her body: one to hold her urine and the other to hold her feces. She was told those bags would be permanent. Less than two months later, cancer returned to her pelvis and lungs. Because she was now out of standard-of-care options, she joined a Phase 1 clinical trial developed at City of Hope: a three-drug cocktail of immunotherapy and targeted therapy that could kickstart her immune system to fight the cancer. And that it did. She now has no evidence of disease and continues to travel the world and see her children grow into wonderful adults.

To view Ida Yaghoobians’ full story, visit: https://www.cityofhope.org/turning-six-months-six-years-and-beyond

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