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Karen Parles - Medical History

Since I get so many questions regarding my personal experience and treatment, I am posting a brief medical history. Please remember that no two patients have the same presentation or response to treatment. My advice to all patients is to get the best medical care possible. This is usually found at major academic or cancer centers where they offer multidisciplinary care and oncologists who specialize in lung cancer. Second opinions can be very important in lung cancer. For more information, see Finding the Best Medical Care.

Diagnosis

My experience with lung cancer began in January 1998 with an incidental finding on an x-ray. I was 38 years old and had no symptoms or risk factors for lung cancer. After an exploratory thoracotomy, I was diagnosed with advanced NSCLC (adenocarcinoma) and given an extremely bleak prognosis. I had a 1.5 cm peripheral nodule in my right upper lobe with pleural involvement, no other distant metastases and negative nodes via mediastinoscopy. After consultation with Dr. Thomas J. Lynch (oncologist) and Dr. John C. Wain (thoracic surgeon) at Mass General, I underwent an experimental treatment consisting of 4 rounds of Taxol and carboplatin followed by an extrapleural pneumonectomy. I recovered well from my surgery and was cancer-free for 4 1/2 years.

Recurrence

My cancer recurred in August 2002 and has been treated systemically since that time with various chemotherapies (Alimta, carboplatin and Gemzar, Xeloda) and targeted therapies (Iressa, Avastin). Local therapies have included external (photon) beam radiation for a rib metastasis (along with Zometa, a bisphosphonate); and radiofrequency ablation (RFA), proton beam radiation and Selective Internal Radiation Therapy with Yttrium 90 microspheres for recurrent liver metastases.

I know I am alive today because of the outstanding medical care I have received and offer my profound gratitude to the doctors who have cared for and guided me since my diagnosis:

Dr. Thomas J. Lynch (Medical Oncologist, Mass General Hospital)

Dr. John C. Wain, Jr. (Thoracic Surgeon, Mass General Hospital)

Dr. Jeffrey Schneider (Medical Oncologist, Winthrop Hospital)

Dr. Damian Dupuy (Interventional Radiologist, Rhode Island Hospital)

Dr. John Fiore (Medical Oncologist, MSKCC/Commack)

Dr. Alan Meek (Radiation Oncologist, University Hospital/Stony Brook)

Dr. Torunn Yock (Proton Beam Radiation Oncologist, Mass General Hospital)

Dr. Gregory Dubel (Interventional Radiologist, Rhode Island Hospital)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last modified: 18-Feb-2009
Karen Parles, Editor