New lymphoma treatment a huge leap forward
Gerard, 71, has been treated for lymphoma twice, and had two vastly different experiences.
Most recently Gerard has been on a newly available treatment at Cabrini, he says he has experienced almost no side effects taking his new medication, which is as simple as taking a twice-daily tablet.
In 2014, Gerard was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma.
“I did the usual old treatment then, which was fairly horrific,” he says.
“I had a section of the lung removed, and I had chemo over about six months.”
He underwent an autologous transplant, where stem cells are removed and later infused back in.
“That was the worst part. It was really depressing and horrible.”
With his cancer in remission, Gerard has been well until the beginning of this year, when he began to experience symptoms again.
“In January I lost about ten kilos. I was really tired, so I went back in and saw Dr Melita Kenealy. We knew straight away it had returned, the lymphoma.”
Dr Kenealy felt that Gerard was a suitable candidate for a new medication called acalabrutinib, a BTK inhibitor.
It is given in a tablet form (rather than drip treatment) and she says that Gerard has tolerated it amazingly well.
“Gerard has had a fabulous response over six months and is now in remission again. He has had virtually no side effects,” Dr Kenealy says.
“We have also been able to focus on looking after his general health and supportive care with a dietician and exercise physiologist, available through our dedicated Cabrini Cancer Exercise And Wellness Centre.”
Gerard says he can’t believe how well he feels in such a short time.
“It is just fantastic. I have this extraordinary treatment morning and night-time. I’ve had almost no side effects, no problems. A mild headache for a few days, that was the extent of any side effects for me.”
Gerard, who is a Christian Brother, hopes that others will benefit from this new treatment.
“I feel hopeful about the future. I’m just glorying in it, really.”
To learn more about the Cabrini Cancer Exercise and Wellness Centre, visit www.cabrini.com.au/cewc