Thursday, August 13, 2009
Medical Reports: Local Lifesaver
Up until now, cancer patients living in Broward County who need a stem cell transplant to survive had to travel far and stay in the hospital for a month. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us how a new program is turning into a Local Lifesaver.
WSVN -- Carmen Sylvestri can smile now, but her life was turned upsidedown two years ago after she took a bad fall.
Carmen Sylvestri: "Wound up in the hospital for about three weeks."
She broke almost every bone in her back, and after a series of tests, she got some shocking news.
Carmen Sylvestri: "Told me that I did have and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow."
Dr. Lyle Feinstein is the director of the bone marrow transplant program at Memorial Cancer Institute. He says multiple myeloma causes damage to the bones, kidneys and the production of normal blood cells.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "Right now, the average survival among patients with multiple myeloma is on the order of four years."
But the good news is patients who undergo a stem cell transplant can increase their chances.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "The goal of a transplant is to put the disease into a deep enough remission. The patient requires no treatment for their condition for a number of years."
Carmen knew it was going to be an uphill battle .
Carmen Sylvestri: "It's a hard thing to have to do, but you do it."
But there was one thing making it a little easier, up until recently, patients in Broward County needing a stem cell transplant would have to travel to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami or to Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa and be hospitalized for a month. Now, the procedure is available on an outpatient basis in their own backyard.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "Patients benefit in that they do not have to be uprooted from their home and families."
Here's how the transplant works: Blood stem cells are collected from the patient's bone marrow and blood and stored.
Dr. Lyle Feinstein: "Patient's can then receive high doses of chemotherapy to erradicate their disease, and then can be rescued with these cells."
Those cells will then re-populate the bone marrow and produce normal blood cells.
Carmen had her transplant about a year ago. She is in complete remission and says not having to leave her home and her family for the transplant has really helped make treatment a success.
Carmen Sylvestri: "You feel special, you feel like somebody has given you the chance to start your life over again, and it's really a rewarding thing."
Diana Diaz: "The entire process of collecting the stem cells and undergoing the transplant takes about six weeks."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Memorial Cancer Institute
Leukemia, Lymphoma & BMT Program
Dr. Lyle Feinstein
Memorial Hospital West
801 N. Flamingo Road, Suite 11
Pembroke Pines, FL 33028
Tel: (954) 844-6861