Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tom Brokaw Battling Cancer

Tom Brokaw
NBC revealed yesterday that veteran newsman Tom Brokaw, who was a longtime anchor of NBC Nightly News, was diagnosed last August with multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects blood cells in the bone marrow.

The report said doctors are encouraged with the progress he's making and optimistic about the outcome of treatment.

The 74-year-old Brokaw has continued to work on NBC projects during the treatments.

He said in a statement, "I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing my life, my work and adventures still to come. I remain the luckiest guy I know."

According to a story at USAToday, on average, patients today tend to survive about five to seven years after diagnosis, says Catherine Broome, a hematologist/oncologist at Georgetown's Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.

In some cases, patients can survive more than a decade, noting that some "amazing" new therapies "have changed the whole story."

According to the American Cancer Society, there are 22,000 cases of myeloma diagnosed each year, with 10,700 deaths. The disease is more common in men, and typically diagnosed in older Americans.

The disease affects a type of immune system cell called a plasma cell, which makes antibodies. Antibodies are crucial for fighting disease. As cancerous cells grow, they take over the bone marrow, secreting substances that cause the bone marrow to dissolve itself, making more room for the cancer. New drugs can help to strengthen and preserve bone in myeloma patients.

Myeloma cells create ineffective antibodies, which cause the kidneys to become filled with a thick, molasses-like substance that impairs their function. Patients may be diagnosed because of bone deterioration, kidney problems or anemia, Schiller says.

Myeloma also can be detected through blood tests that are part of regular care.

No comments:

Post a Comment