Monday, December 03, 2007

November check-up is good

It's been a while, but the latest news is good. Anthony's November check-up, bloodwork, and CT scan were all normal. Only one more quarterly check-up and then we move to twice a year for one year. After that it is just bloodwork maybe once a year or so. That means there are only 3 more visits/CT scans and then he is past the 5 year mark and considered the same as everyone else.

I've probably said this before, but I was always under the impression that Anthony would need to have a CT scan once a year for the rest of his life. But, when I asked about that a couple of visits ago the doctor said after 5 years post-treatment they consider him the same as anyone else. Not that I don't enjoy seeing everyone at the clinic, but I'll be very glad to stop going going there. As time goes on, I know fewer and fewer people at the hospital anyway.

Until next time...(February)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Next check-up is in November

Anthony's last checkup was good.  Bloodwork was normal, CT was normal.  That check-up was at the 3 1/2 year from end-of-treatment mark.  The next one is the 3 3/4 check-up.  After that, in February, we will be beginning the fifth year post-treatment.  During that time, there will only be 2 check-ups, at 4 years (end of year four) and 4 1/2 years.  The last check-up will end year five in February 2008.  That is all that is left.  He will occasionally go back for bloodwork and maybe a CT.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

End of 3rd year tests look good!

About three weeks ago Anthony went for his three year post-chemo tests and everything looks good! He did a blood test, echocardiogram, and CT scan. Everything is normal... Yeah!

I didn't write about this in my last entry because I thought it was nothing and did turn out to be nothing in the end, but the last echocardiogram in September showed something weird (according to the cardiologist). He noted that there was a slight difference in movement around the left ventricle and this could signal possible problems. As a little background, one of the drugs they gave to Anthony (adriamycin a.k.a doxorubicin) can cause enlargement of the heart, also called cardiomyopathy. This could possibly be serious and would eventually result in the need for a heart transplant. So, when the cardiologist said he saw something funny, I kinda worried. When he told me that he saw this difference in movement though, I immediately thought about the apparatus in Anthony's chest. The material they put in there to take the place of the ribs can block ultrasound waves and make it difficult to see everything. I mentioned this to the cardiologist and he did not want to go back and look at the previous echo. He was convinced that he saw something real. I was not so convinced, though.

The cardiologist wanted us to go back for another echo in Feb. to see if anything had changed. We did, and surprise...the cardiologist said "it is really hard to see things in there, but I see no sign of any problems". He originally wanted Anthony to come back in 6 months for another echo, but now he says we should come back in a year and possibly not again after that. He repeatedly said "everything looks really great, he looks very healthy and I don't see any problems at all". I was gracious and didn't say "I told you so", but I was definitely thinking it.

As for the rest of the scans, we go back every three months for CTs during this last year and then switch to every six months for the next year. After that, Dr. Masterson said Anthony is considered cured and won't have to go back every year for CT scans! I had thought that he would have to go every year for the rest of his life, but he will finally be free of all the poking and prodding in another two years. That was news that made me very happy.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lab disaster may lead to new cancer drug - Cancer -

Lab disaster may lead to new cancer drug - Cancer -

Serendipity strikes again! The researchers in the article were using PPAR for another purpose but found they killed the cancer cells they were working on pretty effectively. From the article:

The compound works in much the same way as the taxane drugs, including Taxol, which were originally derived from Pacific yew trees.

“It targets part of the cell cytoskeleton called tubulin,” Schaefer said. Tubulin is used to build microtubules, which in turn make up the cell’s structure.

Destroying it kills the cell, but cancer cells eventually evolve mechanisms to pump out the drugs that do this, a problem called resistance.

“Resistance to anti-tubulin therapies is a huge problem in many cancers. We see this as another way to get to the tubulin,” Schaefer said.

The PPAR-gamma compound does this in a different way from the taxanes, which might mean it could overcome the resistance that tumor cells often develop to chemotherapy.

“Most of the drugs like Taxol affect the ability of tubulin to forms into microtubules. This doesn’t do that -- it causes the tubulin itself to disappear. We do not know why.”