Month: April 2008

This is why

Last weekend was our local “Relay for Life” event, which I attended. My nephew, who is almost seven years old, went along with me. He walked with me for the survivors’ lap, which starts the relay. As the survivors pass by, the team members and other spectators usually give a big round of applause. My nephew said he was embarrassed by this and asked why everyone was clapping. I asked him if he knows what cancer is, and he said he did. I explained that everyone he saw walking was a cancer survivor and that people were applauding because we had all been successful in fighting our cancers. He asked, “can it kill you?” I said that it can, and his response was, “I don’t want it to kill you… because I love you.”

This is why we have chemo, take dex and all the other stuff we have do to stay here.

Chronic Graft vs. Host Disease Web cast

I just got this via email.

The National Bone Marrow Transplant Link is working with Dr. Steven Pavletic and his staff at the National Institutes of Health to develop a web cast on Coping with Chronic Graft vs. Host Disease.  The 30-minute presentation will provide an overview of cGVHD, recommendations for care of the cGVHD patient, and personal reflections from current cGVHD patients and their caregivers. The web cast will be launched on our web site, www.nbmtlink.org late this summer. We are grateful to the National Marrow Donor Program for supporting this product

Kidney cancer may be linked to multiple myeloma

I just noticed this on Reuters and wanted to post it before I forgot about it.  I’ll comment later on and will be looking for the original article published in the medical journal.
Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:29pm EDT

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – For the first time, researchers have evidence of an association between renal cell carcinoma and multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, one that “cannot be explained by random incidence alone,” they say.

“I think general oncologists as well as myeloma and renal cancer physicians should be aware of this association,” Dr. Mohamad A. Hussein of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, noted in comments to Reuters Health.

Renal cell carcinoma begins in the kidney cells and although it may progress slowly, it is very resistance to chemotherapy. Multiple myeloma, which may also progress slowly, is likewise resistant to treatment. It begins in the blood’s plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that is part of the immune system. Over time, myeloma cells build up in bone marrow and then in the solid parts of bone.

In a review of data from patients referred to the Cleveland Clinic between 1990 and 2005, Hussein and colleagues identified 1,100 patients with multiple myeloma, 2,704 with renal cell carcinoma, and 8 with both types of cancer.

In 4 of the 8 patients, renal cell carcinoma was diagnosed 3 to 46 months after the multiple myeloma diagnosis. In the remaining 4, renal cell carcinoma was diagnosed 1 to 108 months before the multiple myeloma. Seven of the 8 patients were first diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma on the right side.

“The probability of this association was much higher than that expected in the general population,” the researchers note in the medical journal BJU International. “No clear treatment-related, environmental, genetic or immune-mediated common factors can fully explain this association.”

The investigators point out that interleukin-6 supports the growth and expansion of both types of cancer. Interleukin-6 is a “cytokine” that normally enhances the body’s immune response to disease and infection.

“I think the take-home message,” Hussein said, “is that after active therapy for myeloma, if the kidney lesion does not clear — especially if it is affecting the right kidney — renal cell cancer should be considered.”

In this study, when myeloma was the first malignancy diagnosed, “the renal cell carcinoma was at a very early stage and therefore surgical exploration is critical.”

SOURCE: BJU International, March 2008.