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Why is my cancer always coming back and everyone else's cancer goes away?
Nov 15, 2001

Dr Dezube: I've read a lot of your response to others with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and you always say that one round of chemotherapy and you'll do well. Why is it that after 13 weeks of chemotherapy (cytoxan, adriamycin, methotrexate, vincristine, bleomycin and decadron), the cancer came back. Then I took oral VP16,CCNU, Matulane,cytoxan-- months of hell. The cancer came back and now on the regimen MINE...Why is my cancer always coming back and everyone else's cancer goes away. I don't understand why I can't seem to get rid of this. Thank you...I'm not depressed or down ..I'm working full time except when I'm in hospital and my viral load has alway been undetectable.

Response from Dr. Dezube

I feel for you in a big way. I sympathize with your plight. It is often harder for a patient to hear that his(her) cancer recurred, than to hear about the cancer at the time of the original diagnosis. I obviously don't have an answer as to why your cancer is misbehaving in such a bad way, whereas everyone else's cancer goes away. How I wish we oncologists could give guarantees to patients about their tumors responding! You sound like a very strong patient indicating that you are still working; Recurrent cancer can be tough- I hope you can marshal up all the necessary strength to deal with it. Having an undetectable viral load decreases tumor recurrence, but in your case, it sounds like this was not enough to guarantee you good health. If your tumor does respond to the latest regimen, and I'm hoping that it does, then some oncologists would offer you a stem cell transplant as a means of increasing the likelihood that you'll remain cancer free. Other cancer centers offer another procedure called "mini-dose allo/transplant lite" (your oncologist could tell you if you're appropriate for either of these high technology procedures). Good luck. BD.

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