The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance would like to thank Amy Heidrick for becoming our Advocate of the Month for June. Amy shares the story of her father-- a family man through and through-- and his fight with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Posts about "malignant pleural mesothelioma"
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance would like to thank Diana Evens-Hein for becoming our Advocate of the Month for May and sharing her story about her father's fight with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Diana’s statement of “one less breath is one too many” is a statement than can resonate with our community who have suffered loss from this cancer. Below is an interview with Diana about her experience and how she would like to help the mesothelioma community.
“Jane” is 65. She hasn’t been herself since she had a cold about six months ago. She’s still coughing, still tired, and a little short of breath. She’s also lost a few pounds, but she’s wanted to lose weight for some time now, so she’s happy about that. Jane’s son finally talks her into going to see her doctor, who determines that Jane has been having a number of additional symptoms. The workup leads to a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Jane is shocked to learn that she has cancer, and that her life expectancy is probably around 12 to 18 months.
This morning in our thoracic oncology tumor board discussion, we reviewed a case of a 72 year-old man who is now diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) that is too advanced to consider surgery, and who is rather debilitated from emphysema and other longstanding medical problems. The best studied treatment for MPM is the chemotherapy combination of cisplatin and Alimta (pemetrexed), which has a proven survival benefit compared with cisplatin alone1. But cisplatin is an older chemotherapy agent that is notoriously challenging for even many fit patients to tolerate. This raises the question of whether there might be an alternative approach for patients who are unlikely or unwilling to tolerate the anticipated side effects of a cisplatin/Alimta combination, which often include nausea/vomiting, possible kidney damage, hearing loss, peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling from nerve damage), and sometimes other issues not typically seen with carboplatin. The data from a large European registry2 provide reassurance that the generally better tolerated combination of carboplatin/Alimta can provide comparable benefit for patients who are not candidates for the standard cisplatin-based regimen.
Becoming a caregiver started the moment my wife was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. Like many others, my wife and I were not prepared for the news she had cancer. A little over three months prior to my wife’s cancer diagnosis, we had celebrated the birth of our only child, our daughter Lily. We had assumed we would be settling down to our new lives as parents, not dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The diagnosis shattered our lives.
Among the many challenges of managing malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is reliably assessing the response of the disease to our treatment. We don’t want to discard a treatment that is effective, nor do we want to have patients continue on a treatment that isn’t helpful but is causing significant side effects. In oncology, we typically grade our work by comparing an imaging study like a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the chest done after 2-3 cycles of systemic therapy (usually covering a 6-9 week interval) to a baseline scan performed prior to the start of treatment. As you’d suspect, significant tumor shrinkage is good, while growth is bad, and stable disease is somewhere in between. Typically, we want to continue our treatment in the absence of significant progression or prohibitive side effects.
My name is Dr. Jack West, and I’m a medical oncologist specializing in thoracic oncology at Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, WA. Over the next year, I’ll be covering a broad range of topics related to malignant pleural mesothelioma; one of the cancers I treat, as well as speak and write about for the cancer community. Though it’s a relatively uncommon cancer in the US and around the globe, my corner of the country actually has the highest per capita incidence of mesothelioma. This is primarily because of the many shipyards in our area where people are exposed to asbestos, and our center has emerged as one of the leading places in the country for management of mesothelioma.
You hear the joking comments “Normalcy is highly overrated” and it is, until something happens to shake your foundation, and everything you have is turned upside down. For some people, it is a divorce, a break up, the loss of a loved one, but for me, it was my cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma—rather melodic sounding, but mostly just a deadly cancer. I fought it with everything I had and, right now, I’m doing well. At my last check up, there was no evidence of the disease. I am a 6 1/2 year survivor.