- 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.
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.
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:
Thomas J. Lynch (Medical Oncologist, Mass General Hospital)
John C. Wain, Jr. (Thoracic Surgeon, Mass General Hospital)
Jeffrey Schneider (Medical Oncologist, Winthrop Hospital)
Damian Dupuy (Interventional Radiologist, Rhode Island Hospital)
John Fiore (Medical Oncologist, MSKCC/Commack)
Alan Meek (Radiation Oncologist, University Hospital/Stony
Torunn Yock (Proton Beam Radiation Oncologist, Mass General Hospital)
Gregory Dubel (Interventional Radiologist, Rhode Island Hospital)