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Hockey great keeps Hodgkin’s lymphoma in check

Written by Community Health Network on 2/21/2014 10:30:00 AM

For his performance during the 1992-1993 season with the Pittsburg Penguins, back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships and gold medal win in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake, Mario Lemieux earned the name “Super Mario”. But what is truly super about this hockey legend is that he is a cancer survivor.

In 1993 Mario was having the season of his career and was close to establishing a new National Hockey League (NHL) scoring record. Then, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, now known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

A cancer of the blood, Hodgkin’s lymphoma develops in the lymph system, part of the body’s immune system. There are two kinds of lymphomas: non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s. Both types of lymphoma have similar symptoms and characteristics, which include swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats and weight loss.

Mario had discovered a swollen lymph node on the back of his neck that was determined to be cancerous. After its removal he underwent radiation therapy, one of the procedures used to treat this cancer. But, on the morning of March 2, 1993, Mario finished his last radiation treatment, took a plane to Philadelphia, and scored a goal and an assist against the Philadelphia Flyers. Talk about keeping cancer in check!

Mario is now 20 years cancer-free and his personal experience with cancer led him to create his own foundation.

“My battle with Hodgkin’s disease in 1993 made me realize how fragile life can be,” he said. continue reading ...


Top Hoosier cancers

Written by Community Health Network on 2/18/2014 6:00:00 AM

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Cancer survivor and Olympian goes for gold

Written by Community Health Network on 2/12/2014 9:00:00 PM

Very few of the Olympians competing in Sochi can say they are cancer survivors. Nordic combined skier Bryan Fletcher is one of those few. Fletcher had acute lymphoblastic leukemia as a child.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the blood, and the most common form of childhood cancer. Symptoms of ALL include fever, tiredness, bone or joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes and unusual bruising. 

To diagnosis this type of leukemia doctors must perform a blood test to look at the blood cells and bone marrow for abnormalities. A spinal tap may be needed to see if ALL is in the central nervous system of the body. It is a fast-growing cancer of lymphocyte-forming cells called lymphoblasts. When diagnosed it can be treated with medicines and treatments like chemotherapy. 

"As a kid going through chemo, it's something that you always remember and are always going to look back on," said Fletcher in a December interview. "But going through it, I always just wanted to be a normal kid." 

Fletcher now shares his story with children as a volunteer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

"I had a pretty extensive battle, having a stroke and an allergic reaction to some chemotherapy drugs," he said. "But once I was all clear through that, I think I was eight years old, after a two-year remission study to make sure nothing was awry. I didn't really look back on it until I was in high school. I was like, 'Wow, this is motivation.' It's something that pushes me everyday." 

Fletcher applies that motivation to his sport and is going for gold in his first Olympic Games. continue reading ...


NBC news correspondent diagnosed with cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 2/12/2014 7:30:00 AM

In the wake of 2014 Olympic coverage, Tom Brokaw announced that he has multiple myeloma.

The NBC News Special Correspondent released a personal statement stating that he has been diagnosed with cancer of the blood, but that his physicians are very encouraged with the progress he is making.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects plasma cells in bone marrow. When plasma cells become cancerous and grow, they can produce a tumor called a plasmacytoma. These tumors usually develop in the bone. When there is more than one plasma cell tumor, it is called multiple myeloma.

There are different stages to multiple myeloma, and once it is staged treatment can occur. Treatments can include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, bisphosphonates and/or plasmapheresis. 

Throughout his treatment (that started last August), Brokaw has continued to work on NBC News projects, including contributing to NBC Sports coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“With the exceptional support of my family, medical team and friends, I am very optimistic about the future and look forward to continuing my life, my work and adventures still to come," said Brokaw.

Blood cancer basics

Sumeet Bhatia, M.D., a board certified medical oncologist, hematologist and internal medicine specialist at Community Regional Cancer Center, explains the basics of blood cancer.

For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of blood cancer, visit eCommunity.com/cancercare.

Source: www.nbcnews.com


Team USA hockey player, cancer supporter

Written by Community Health Network on 2/10/2014 7:00:00 AM

Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues can be seen skating with Team USA in Sochi. But this hockey player is more than a puck-stopping defenseman, he is also a cancer supporter.

Shattenkirk recently learned that his former coach of the Devils Youth Hockey Club, Chad Dlugolecki, was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia on January 2. Since learning of the diagnosis he's joined Dlugolecki's support team. He's even shown support of a website created to raise money to help fund the coach's hospital bills and treatment.

"Chad, he had me when I was right around 12-13 all the way up until I was about 16," Shattenkirk told St. Louis' Foxsports.com. "Just a great, great coach. Good motivator. Very passionate about the game and someone that always made the game fun when we were younger and I think that's a very important quality to have as a coach."

Shattenkirk made a donation to his coaches fun, which led to a fan making another in the name of the Blues star. He is happy that people are actively supporting him and his former coach in the fight against cancer. continue reading ...


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