tv News4 Your Sunday NBC September 24, 2017 5:30am-6:00am EDT
good morning. this is news 4 your sunday. >> hello. i'm pat law sou musson muse. a cancer diagnosis can stun and scare you, but the more you know about cancer the better your chances of beating it and living with it should you get a diagnosis. september is blood cancer awareness month. blood cancer is the third leading cancer killer in this country. here in the washington region an estimated 27,000 people are living with blood cancer. here to talk about this and to help us understand thing cancers are brianna moreno who is with the myeloma link reach. dr. donnellys with virginia cancer s
yates is the survivor of multiple myelomas. every three minutes someone gets a blood cancer diagnosis. there are three main types of blood cancers. which are the most commonly diagnosed? >> they break them down to three big groups, leukemia, lymphoma and myelomas. they're cousins of each other and that's why we work with them and group them together. within the groups there's multiple sub types. if i blake them down i could probably name about 30 plus, but in general some of the blood cancers like leukemia can be very aggressive. they have no signs, they start off abruptly and others may take years before there are symptoms and signs. it is true for other diseases such as myelomas. there's a huge spectrum not seen in other cancers which makes it a little more difficult to screen and follow andi
more lymphomas, more leukemia? >> in general lymphoma is the biggest sub garoutte, but because it carries another 20 plus diagnoses within the umbrella. >> who is most susceptible to the cancers and do we know what causes them? are we talking genetics, environment or other factor cincinnati. >> we know people with immuno compromised have a higher risk. with bone marrow transplants or other organ transplants or on drugs such as drugs that immuno suppress you, so that's a predisposing factor. but in general they're not congenital or they don't run in families. they're somewhat environmental but not the type of environmental risk we think of like walking in a city or being somewhere, getting ambient radiation. it would have to be high doses of radiation or chemotherapies
predispose. the vast majority we don't know. >> i have to ask you about signs and symptoms. >> this is one of the other challenges. it is not a lump that typically pops up. occasionally it is in a lymphoma, but often the symptoms are vague. they could be fatigue, malaise, a little bit of weight loss, low grade fevers, increased risks of infections. these would be common just in the winter season perhaps. so it is hard to decipher if it is related to a malignancy or if you have another cold and it is that time of year. >> you work with groups that are disproportionately affected by cancers like multiple myeloma and who have higher death rate like cancers like leukemia. tell us about the disparities and the work you are doing to raise awareness of them. >> african-americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma. it is most common in african-americans. at the leukemia and lymp
program here in washington, d.c. to really raise awareness about what is myeloma, what are the treatments out there. we have educational programs. we are working with the churches and have partnered with the national black church initiative to get this information into the churches and into the members' hands. >> kelvin, you are a survivor of multiple myeloma. >> yes. >> when were you diagnosed and how? >> okay. february of 2015 i was diagnosed. it started out with back pain. i went to the emergency room and got checked out, and, you know, they treated me and sent me back home because there's really no way to be treated for back pain. as i progressively got worse, i went back to the emergency room at which point in time they felt the need to run blood work and do some x-raies and mris. that's when i was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
before? >> at the time i did not. i had never heard of it. i was aware of blood cancers but never heard of multiple myeloma at the time. >> dr. patel, it is more prominent in african-americans. do we know why that is? >> no, i think one of the things we should know -- that we know very well is it may be a little higher incidence, but when it appears in african-americans it tends to be a younger population, it tends to be more aggressive, and we don't know what the characteristics are of this disease in this sub type. part is the only way to know these things is to have people participate in bigger numbers in clinical trials, and so we have a little more ethnic diversity than most clinical trials. the population tends to be caucasian so when you try to break it up into sub groups about what is different about an asian population or african-american, it is difficult because you have small numbers to look at. we don't know really. we know it is mo
our topic this morning is blood cancer and what you need to know about this. dr. dipti patel-donnelly, i want to talk about treatment because everybody when they're talking about cancer is bringing up immuno therapy. how effective is this? does it work for blood cancer? >> it does. there's different immuno therapies. one of the things i think we have to differentiate for patients is there are drugs we call immuno therapies called pd 1 or pdl 1 antagonists. they're fdaa proved, a few of them, for other solid tumors such as lung cancer, such as melanoma and several for hodgkins lymphoma, the only h blood cancer that's been fda a
however, many clinical trials are looking into other options in other sub types like diffused cell and myeloma. we are finding the one mechanism is a root cause. we are finding that the same therapy may be actually effective in so many different variant diseases, which is unlikely in terms of chemotherapy, it is very unlikely one or two drugs can treat breast cancer, can treat colon cancer or lymphoma. we found a key mechanism which inhibits multiple so we want to open it up to as many sub types as we can. in blood cancers it is very exciting. still has to be proven and widened, but that's why we encourage patients to be in clinical trials to get this looked into a little better. >> and what are the other ground breaking treatments? >> one of the ones, i mean if anyone has read the news or heard about all of the press carties therapy. >> approved by the fda recently. >> yes, over the
it is an immune therapy but not quite the one we conventionally think of. it is taking t clels oells out r body, filtering it, giving it a virus and teaching it to produce a protein and those t cell also are infused back into the patient. what it does is it then goes and activates your own immune system to fight its own cancer. right now it has been quite active is acute lympho blastic population where it has been done, but if you can change the protein you are injecting back in could you find the myeloma protein, for lung cancer or another cancer completely and actually activate your own immune system to take care of the cancer internally because clearly there's a defect in our immune system when we let cancer grow. we don't do it to an infection. you get the flu and your body tries to fight it. why is cancer evading your immune system? this is a way to reboot
what it is supposed to be doing. >> there's so much we don't know about this, especially in populations -- the populations you are working with. brianna, you are working with the national black church initiative, and you're calling on churches to host what you're calling myeloma sundays. tell us about this. >> right. so it is a partnership with the national black church initiative. the program is called myeloma link, and we are working with churches in the d.c. metro area to host, like you said, the myeloma sundays. we have a small health alert. it is basically a short three to five-minute health psa presented during a church service. it is really a way to get the information out there, and the leukemia and lymphoma society is on site and available with our staff and our advocates like kelvin to really just answer people's questions and put more information into their hands. >> kelvin, you needed information. you got it when your back started hurting y
the hospital. once you got into treatment, can you tell us what that process was like for you and, you know, what you had to go through? >> yes. it was pretty rough to start out. you can only imagine, because, you know, it was treatment three times a week, and the first treatment i went through my body didn't even accept it. so of course we had to change up the regimen and go with another one before my body -- before it finally started fighting off the blood cancer. and being at home, sitting around watching tv once i was released from the hospital is how i found out about the leukemia/lymphoma to get the help i needed with co-pays and things like that because the medication is very expensive. >> and then you were out there working with the leukemia/lymphoma society. >> yes. >> to help spread the word and raise awareness about something that is really sort of
mysterious. >> yes. >> to so many people. dr. patel, does the risk of developing this kind of cancer increase with age? >> it does. i mean typically what we're seeing, what we've been taught in medical school and we know about is as you get older the risk of certain lymphomas and multiple myeloma do increase. what we're seeing now is younger and younger patients, patients like kelvin who don't really feet the type we would expect. so the question is always raised, if it is not truly genetic what is driving all of this. part of it is we don't know, but one has to surmise there may be other environmental impacts or other things we are doing to our lives that we're seeing younger and younger patients with diseases traditionally seen in older folks, you know, 60-year-old, 70-year-old population. we still see those, but i have seen quite a bit of younger folks with things we don't expect to see such as myeloma or lymphoma. >> we will take another break and we'll be right back. stay with us.
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lymphoblas dr. dipti patel-donnelly, testing, who should be tested? is this a cancer where you need to be screened on a regular basis? do you recommend that? >> no, there is no screening. so unlike pap smears for cervical cancer or mammograms or certain psas, there's no screening test. one of the things is to make patients aware of signs and symptoms which can be vague at times, but if they're persistent, out of character or rapidly progressing and you don't have a good sign like fever, fatigue, infection, or you feel a mass coming up in places they shouldn't be, seeing your doctor is right thing to do. your doctor often does a good
values like checking blood counts and that can be a window into what may be going on. patient's blood counts may drift, white cells can go up, which may be an initial sign of different leukemias, other things like that triggers the next step to see someone like myself, an oncologist. >> would a doctor pick it up during a routine checkup or during a checkup for a backache? >> it could either. i have patients with chronic lymphomas and chronic leukemias, and someone did a blood count check as routine and it is mildly elevated and they are diagnosed with a mild leukemia i may observe and do nothing else. on the flip end, patients come in with significant symptoms, you're rapidly evolving, your back pain doesn't come and go but it is progressing and is atypical it needs imaging, maybe someone needs to take a look at it and further testing needs to be done.
we see in the african-american community, brianna, you know, you have to go to the doctor. >> right. >> you know, there are a lot of people who just don't go to the doctor, are not accustomed to getting routine checkups and, therefore, when they finally get to the doctor because they're experiencing a symptom, maybe it is too late. when you go and talk to, you know, the black churches, i would imagine you hear a lot of people say, i haven't been to the doctor in a long time. >> right. >> and a lot of folks don't go to the doctor unless they are very, very ill. >> yeah, that's true. we hear that a lot when we go out into these presentations or when we meet people at community events, that's something you hear. i don't go to the doctor, i don't get a routine checkup, i feel fine, i feel healthy. what we say is, you know, it is great that you feel healthy and we want you to stay that way, so that's why it is important to get these routine checkups. 20% of myeloma patients are actually diagnosed before symptoms occur. that's because they went for routine checkups so it is very
year. >> kelvin, you're not only a survivor now, you are an advocate. you're working with the llos. tell us about the work you are doing. >> i do quite a bit. they do an annual light tonight walk. they do three weaks a year. they do one in rest in, they do one in washington d.c. >> there's one coming up next month. >> right. >> yes, the night walk on october 14th if i'm not mistaken. it is just a way to raise money. so myself, i have a team where i raise money and different people raise teams. it is just a fun night to come out and, you know, you have survivors, you have families, friends. it just brings everybody together for a night of fun. >> oh, that's support is so important, isn't it? >> yes, very much so. i mean they've supported me so much, it is just unbelievable. you name it, they've been there. >> okay.
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welcome back. dr. patel, tell us about some of the latest clinical trials. nih recently announced it is funding the largest-ever involving african-americans. >> that is true. one of?u'! the biggest underrepresented patients are african-american patients, minorities essentially. whatever we can do to encourage that population that's been underrepresented to partake in clinical trials will help give us more information, to guide treatments that may be specifically different for one population versus another versus differences in
we know there's some disparities, sometimes we say it is socioeconomic, sometimes we say it may actually be within the patient himself and how we metabolize drugs may be different from population to population, and it is important to do that with no clinical trial for all of lymphoma and all of leukemia. i would encourage you to speak to your provider for sure, to talk to your doctor knowledgeable about this, to seek out information through resources such as leukemia lymphoma society and see what trial may be applicable to you. many patients come in and say i heard about this great new drug, is it for me and why am i not on it. the answer may be simply you're not the right population, you're not the target for that. so we want to encourage trial enrollment and to start new therapies so we can understand these diseases a little better and have more treatment options. we made many gains over the last ten years, specifically in the last five years from multiple myeloma. we have a lot still to learn and the more we know the more empowered the scientific community is. >> are there a lot of places to go tet
information, support? breana, llos has an assistance program to help people. i guess treatment is expensive. >> yes, it can be expensive which is why we have financial assist answer and a lot of patient support services. specifically we have information specialist that you can contact and they can walk you through your specific diagnosis, and just more information and help you follow up with your doctor or what clinical trials are out there and give you specifics of what you can go back to your doctor with. >> you were talking about light the nights. i understand there actually will be three walks here in washington. >> yes. >> the one you mentioned on october 14th, the biggest one will be taking place in washington for the first time on the 21st? >> yes, on october 21st. >> this is the big national walk? >> on the national mall. it will be first time having it there on october 21st. we encourage everybody to come out.
and -- >> yes, you will see lanterns and a variety of different team shirts, some that say "light the night" and then on the back people have their teams on it. the survivor team shirts will have "survivor" on the back so you will know the people that have actually gone through it that are actually out there participating, which makes it even more exciting when you are walking beside somebody that made it through. >> sure. so you are expecting some 12,000 people between all three walks? >> some 12,000, yes. >> how would people get information if they want to participate in these walks? >> they can go to lls.org, and i believe it is back slash lightthenight which will get you to the light the night part. if there's other information you need go to lls.org and it will get you pointed in the right direction. >> dr. patel, the more information the better? >> the more the better, so we can be specific and target our therapies to decrease the toxicities and to ime
efficacy of what we're doing. we have a long way to go. >> yeah. there's a lot of information, but there are a lot of resources represented here between lls and you mentioned talking to the doctor. some people are afraid to get involved in clinical trials, but they can really be life saving. >> they can be. >> ground breaking. >> yes, and clinical trials aren't for everyone. there are different phases, phase one, two, three and four so we have to be educated about it. >> dr. dipti patel-donnelly and brianna moreno and kelvin yates. thank you for being with us. kelvin, all of the best to you. >> thank you. >> so glad you are doing so well and you're doing such good work. all right. we know that until all cure rates are 100% there's still a lot of work to be done, and they're all helping to do it and you should, too. thank you for being with us. that is news 4 your sunday. you can watch this program or any of our sunday programs on our website nbcwashington.com. just go there and
sweet 4k tv, mr. peterson. thanks. pretty psyched. did you get fios too? no. mr. peterson, fios is a 100% fiber optic-network. what does that mean? think about it. if you got an awesome new car you'd put the best gas in it, right. so why hook up your awesome technology to anything other than a fiber-optic network? i got to go. peterson. peterson's wife. counting on you guys.
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