Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Primary Oncology Check-up

(MD Anderson Cancer Center has lots of comfy places to chillax between appointments)

We met a new PA yesterday.  He was knowledgable, thorough and extremely soft spoken, which is very comforting.  Unfortunately, the thing that stuck out the most for us was the fact that he reminded us both of a character from the Harry Potter series.  Remember the head goblin at Gringott's Bank?  Well, this could have been his giant twin brother!!

The primary oncology doctor (another one of our ab-fabs) came in and reported that everything looked good on the CT scans within the limitations of his cheap computer monitor; however, once the radiologist had a better look at them with his fancy- dancy monitor he would feel better about his own observations.

So without further ado---there is NO CANCER ACTIVITY at this time.

Yay!, another quick appointment; pleasant and positive.  
For future reference he did let us know that if the cancer should return within the next year or so, Albert is eligible for a clinical trial that is taking place at MD Anderson.  And since a successful cancer treatment does not usually work a second time, it's reassuring to know that he has an Ace in his back pocket.
 More clinical information:

This check-up was for the original tumor that destroyed Bert's thymus, grew into his heart, and eventually lead to surgery and loss of function in his right lung and diaphram.

Remember that the original tumor grew to about 10 lbs and he named it Walter White.  The doctors in Austin were able to cut out most of the bulk of the tumor, but weren't able to get it all.  A big chunk of the thymus tumor grew inside of Albert's heart and is still there.  

Last Spring and Summer, he went through radiation and chemotherapy to kill any cells that escaped during debulking surgery and attempted to kill any cancer that was living on the part they left on his heart.

According to all the tests so far, the radiation and chemo worked!  It killed the visible cancer cells.

But since there is still tumor tissue, they have to keep checking that the cancer cells don't start growing again within that same tissue, which sometimes does happen.  Occasionally there are some cancer cells that actually live through radiation and chemo, but are so small, they just can't be detected, even with their high-resolution microscopes.

No cancer activity at this time means that as far as they can tell from blood work and pictures of the tumor/heart, the tumor tissue is just sitting there; not growing, not shrinking, just sitting.

And that is a very good thing!

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!

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