Alan Holtzman felt that an angel was on his shoulder when a chance meeting with another CLL patient directed him to a leading specialist. Watch his story.
Why do I have lung cancer if I’ve never smoked? Dianne Stewart, a stage IV cancer patient, asked herself this question following her diagnosis. Hear about her initial stage of shock and denial and her advice for others.
December 2, 2013
Thanksgiving, for many, is a time of reflection. I am personally ever thankful, as a two time cancer survivor, to have had another year of feeling good, enjoying life with family and friends, and being productive. When thinking about who has given me that gift I owe a debt of thanks to devoted cancer researchers and specialists. It is because of improved therapies that my leukemia has remained in remission and the symptoms of my second cancer, myelofibrosis, have been knocked back. I don’t know the scientists who developed the drugs I have taken but I am certainly thankful for them.
I am also thankful to cancer specialists who devote their lives to easing or, if they can, erasing the pain of a cancer. In many of the cancers that Patient Power covers, real progress is being made. Sometimes the road is bumpy – sales of a leukemia drug were recently suspended, a promising myelofibrosis drug in late stage clinical trials was stopped in its tracks. But generally the patients I meet are doing better and their doctors are genuinely hopeful – and the world renowned leaders are incredibly dedicated.
More than 175 MPN patients and caregivers attended a live forum in Houston, Texas presented in conjunction with MD Anderson Cancer Center on Nov. 23, 2013.
We saw many examples of this dedication recently at our in-person patient event in Houston. Dr. Ruben Mesa, an expert in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), traveled there from the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, just a couple of weeks after having a “cardiac event.” Another world renowned leader, MD Anderson’s Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, took the time to record materials prior to the event because it conflicted with another commitment thousands of miles away in Croatia. Had it not been for airplane delays, he would have also attended the Houston meeting virtually. Another world class expert, Dr. Jorge Cortes from MD Anderson, also participated. Over the years, in many different settings, he has graciously agreed to take the time to share his knowledge with patients, often doing interviews in both English and Spanish. These gentlemen, along with other health professionals and MPN patient s who shared their personal stories, gave of themselves to help others better understand the latest developments for MPNs at a personal level. We have been gratified to hear from attendees who shared how much the event helped them and the family members who came with them.
Dr. Reuben Mesa, left, from the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Jorge Cortes from MD Anderson Department of Leukemia, were among the presenters at the “Living Well with MPNs” event.
In the blood cancer community, there’s another big event coming that’s bringing news we can be thankful for. Some 20,000+ blood cancer experts will gather in New Orleans Dec. 7-10 for the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). For conditions like multiple myeloma there are indications of longer survival than ever before and a possible move to all-oral therapies. In CLL, the news may be a move to totally non-chemo treatments that are more effective and with fewer side effects. The same is true in lymphomas. In the MPNs we expect there will be more promising drugs to talk about – when just a few years ago there were none – and how powerful oral therapies can be combined for greater benefit. All in all, there may be so much upbeat news we can celebrate a “cancer Thanksgiving” all over again.
My mother always said the number one thing we have to be thankful for is good health. That’s certainly true for me. At this time of year I am also thankful for the hardworking people who continue to make better health possible for me and many of my cancer buddies.
Wishing you and your family the best of health!
Tags: American Society of Hematology, ASH 2013, blood cancers, jorge cortes, md anderson cancer center, MPNs, myeloproliferative neoplasms, reuben mesa, srdan verstovsek
I was diagnosed with MM in April 2013. As I have a 17P53 gene deletion, my oncologist submitted I had only 2-3 years to live. He never told me there were possible small-molecule MDM2 inhibitors that represent a new class of nongenotoxic agents that can reactivate the p53 function. Hope they will touch on this particular subject of MM, or perhaps there are newer procedures/drugs already that counter the destruction of the 17P53 gene?
Looking forward to hearing news from ASH, and exciting new developments ahead for the MPN world.
My Dear Andrew,
I thank you very much for your commitment to serve the CLL patientby giving them knowledge and hope. I always visit your website and listen your interviews with the experts.You are realy serving the huminity.GOD bless you and your family.
Could I ask how can I have more knowlege of my CLL I have 207 Lympocites and rapidly increasing and large spleen, too much fitugue, nosia,diginess etc…. I have not met any CLL patient whome I can share the knowledge. Docctor adviced me to start Chronubil treatment (I donot know if that is the right treatment for me and its side effects) I have not met any patient yet to share the knowledge apart of your bloge (Which I found very helpfull). I am not Doctor can I know if I should visit blood cancer conference on the New Orleans Dec. 7-10. Your any comments will be vey helpfull.
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