Saturday, August 05, 2006

Not much time to talk -- Dan's cancer wants to make the early bird special

Early this morning, we had our first visit to Oncology Hematology Associates, PA. The clinic is one of the area's leading facilities for treatment of blood and lymphatic cancers. Seven physicians rotate throughout the practice, seeing all patients. Dan's primary doctor will be Dr. Tiwarri.

In the interest of keeping this brief, I'm not going to get into many details with this entry. What we all want to know is how serious is Dan's diagnosis?

Answer: his lymphoma does requirement treatment, but it will not kill him.

Additional specs: lymphoma is divided into two categories, Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins. Dan has non-Hodgkins. Non-Hodgkins is further divided into stages of progression, with 1 being the least advanced, and 5 being the most advanced. Dan's lymphoma rates a 1. Lyphomas are additionally classified as agressive or indolent. Dan's is indolent.

So while Dan does have cancer, he has very lazy cancer. It doesn't show a lot of initiative. If Dan's cancer worked for me, I would have fired it for napping on the job.

We got the basic information on what additional tests will be forthcoming and what treatment will be necessary if the tests show what Dr. T believes to be true about Dan's condition. His diagnosis is unique in that this type and stage of lymphoma is rarely seen in people under 60.

Three things are kind of bad: since this kind of cancer is systemic, it can be controlled and it can be put in remission, but it cannot be cured. Meaning Dan may have another outbreak at some point in his lifetime.

Secondly, the cancer is most likely somewhere else in his body at this point, either in his blood, his lymphatic system, or an organ system. That's why all the scans and tests are necessary -- to determine where else the cancer may be.

Finally, treatment does mean six months of chemotherapy. The type, frequency and dosage of chemo will be determined by the scan results.

Lazy, old-person cancer -- should have known it.

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