It has successfully treated a wide range of cancers
As many of my patients and readers know, I have been battling Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the past 2½ years. After many chemotherapy and radiation sessions, my treatments were successful, but not completely successful. My cancer has returned, and my fight continues. I am currently at the Mayo Clinic receiving CAR-T therapy.
I sincerely thank the readers for all their kind wishes and prayers.
What is cancer?
Cancer cells differ from other cells in two ways: They don’t respond to normal body signals to stop growing or die naturally. Usually, cells in the body grow, divide, and die in an orderly fashion. If a cell’s growth isn’t kept in check, that cell can become cancerous and multiply, forming a tumor.
Many cancers originate from a genetic change in our DNA. Some common risk factors for cancer include smoking, exposure to ultraviolet rays, and certain chemicals, like pesticides. In fact, herbicides have a solid link to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Certain lifestyle choices can also increase cancer risk, such as being overweight, not eating healthily, and being inactive.
There are several types of cancer, but the most common types include breast, colon, lung, lymphoma, and prostate cancer. Symptoms of cancer vary depending on the type and location of the cancer and can include abnormal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, pain, and changes in skin color or texture.
Cancer is treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy. Each type of treatment has different goals, depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Treatment may also include other supportive therapies, such as pain medications, nutritional counseling, and psychological support.
Cancer is a serious and life-threatening condition, and understanding cancer risks, types and treatments are essential for prevention and early detection. Awareness of family history and risk factors, having regular screenings and check-ups, and leading a healthy lifestyle is vital for reducing the risk of developing cancer.
What is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the lymphatic system, part of the body’s immune system. Lymphoid tissue is found in the lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, and other areas.
Cancer can start almost anywhere in the body—from the lungs to the skin—and spread to other organs. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell in the lymphoid tissue that protect the body from infection. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects these lymphocytes, causing them to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, which accumulates in the lymphoid tissue.
While the exact cause is unknown, certain risk factors can increase a person’s likelihood of developing Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, such as age, autoimmune conditions, herbicide exposure, and a family history of the disease.
Symptoms vary widely but may include swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, and enlarged organs. Treatment can consist of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and supportive care, depending on the type and stage of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
What is CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell) therapy?
CAR-T therapy is an advanced form of immunotherapy used to treat cancer. The therapy harnesses a patient’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
To do this, T-cells, part of the immune system, are removed from the patient and genetically modified to produce receptors on their surfaces. These receptors bind specifically to specific proteins found on or inside the patient’s cancer cells, allowing the re-engineered T-cells to identify them as foreign and attack them.
After modification, the T-cells are introduced back into the body, where they can seek and destroy the cancer cells. Car—T therapy has been used successfully to treat a variety of blood and bone marrow cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. It has had some excellent success rates and is currently being investigated to treat a wide variety of other cancers.
CAR-T therapy holds bright promise in the war against cancer.