Chemotherapy – not a bone marrow transplant – was the right approach for Goodyear man
In August 2017, Steve was having alarming symptoms. "I had a mass on my chest the size of a baseball," he said. "I couldn't swallow, I couldn't eat and I couldn't sleep."
He went to his primary care doctor who referred him to a cancer specialist. That doctor told Steve he had a type of leukemia called T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, a rare cancer. The specialist referred him to the Cancer Transplant Institute at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at HonorHealth.
Steve, an event manager for the American Liver Foundation, was expecting to hear that he would need a bone marrow transplant, also called a stem cell transplant.
Though he would have been a good candidate for stem cell transplantation, said Veena Fauble, MD, an oncologist with HonorHealth, "based on the his disease and donor status (his donor's bone marrow wasn't a 100 percent tissue match) and response to therapy, we felt that chemo was a better approach rather than stem cell transplantation."
On the road to a cure
Although Steve won't be considered cured until the five-year mark of his diagnosis in 2022, his prognosis is good, Dr. Fauble says. "He is in complete remission and doing well. If he is able to complete all of the maintenance cycles of this protocol, his outcome is very good."
Undergoing this treatment regimen "is not an easy task," said Steve, who is married and is the father of a 7-year-old boy. "But my life is as normal as it can be. And I'm grateful that I've had such good results from the treatment."