Earlier this week I spent a day at Houston’s MD Anderson Hospital, the #1 ranked cancer facility on the planet. I was getting a complete evaluation from Dr. Michael Keating and his team for a second opinion on my treatment plan. My oncologist/hematologist had recommended a chemotherapy regimen termed FCR, which is a combination of 2 chemo agents and a monoclonal antibody. It has shown excellent results in helping folks with the type of leukemia that I have. But it is still chemo and I wanted to be sure.
Dr. Keating is acknowledged as pretty much the top guy in CLL. Many of his research findings, such as the FCR regiment implementation, are the basics of modern CLL treatment. The long and short of it is that Dr. Keating thinks there is absolutely no hurry to start chemo for me. He’s doing even more specific testing of my blood to confirm that the type of leukemia that I have will benefit from very specific types of immunotherapy and targeted monoclonal antibodies. And he thinks that the answer is very likely yes. FCR would work, but it’s like using a nuclear bomb when all you need is one good sniper… So why put the patient through needless discomfort?
And then his comment of “besides, I’ll have this cured in 3-5 years!” was delivered in all seriousness. The field of cancer research and treatment moves so fast that I now know that relying on just one opinion is not for me. So I still have cancer, but the specter of chemo has been removed for a bit.