Foreword
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xi Foreword by W. Jeffrey Baker, MD Adiagnosis of cancer changes a person’s life forever. Fear and uncertainty about the future can be disabling. The task of negotiating the labyrinth of the modern medical system is daunting and treatment decisions can be overwhelming. Patients who seek to understand their disease may struggle to keep up with the rapidly changing advances in medical science. Scientific breakthroughs and “miracle drugs” are heralded in the media on an almost daily basis. This is especially true in the field of oncology, where discoveries in the lab can quickly be translated into exciting new therapies. Some of the most important advances in the past twenty years have occurred in the treatment of hematological malignancies—for example, rituximab in the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, imatinib (Gleevec) for chronic myeloid leukemia, and arsenic trioxide in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia . Cancer patients are inundated with information and advice offered from multiple sources, including friends, family, television, and the Internet. Separating the wheat from the chaff is a difficult undertaking. Few have the educational background to research the medical literature and understand the biology of the disease and its treatment. For a variety of reasons, scientists and physicians often fall short in their explications of illness and treatments. There may be too little time in the doctor’s appointment to thoroughly explain the issues at hand. Communication skills may be lacking. It can be difficult to translate esoteric medical concepts into a form that the patient can understand. In Living with Lymphoma, Elizabeth Adler takes on this task. As a neurobiologist , she is not only able to understand the complex world of lymphoma U xii Foreword biology, diagnosis, and treatment, she is also able to present that information in clear and accessible terms. As a lymphoma patient herself, she can speak to what a patient experiences, and she does so in a practical, matter-of-fact, and, at times, humorous way. A quick search of “lymphoma books” on the Internet yields almost four million results. The majority of these publications fall into three categories: the memoir that describes an emotional journey through a life-threatening illness, the medical textbook that serves as a reference for health care professionals , and the “guidebook” that often oversimplifies explanations for the lay population. Living with Lymphoma defies easy categorization. At times, it documents the author’s experiences as a patient. At other times, it navigates the patient through a maze of medical specialists and technologies. In so doing, it can help patients assemble an experienced and effective health care team. It is also an extensively researched work that provides medical and scientific information for the nonscientist who seeks a deeper understanding of his or her condition. Living with Lymphoma is a well-written and practically organized book. Adler’s tone is matter-of-fact—“Here’s what you might experience. Here’s what I experienced. Here’s the science behind it.” She forthrightly describes what it’s like to have one’s eyelashes fall out during chemotherapy and how she coped with it. She is equally capable of explaining rituximab’s mechanism of action. Rarely has the phrase “knowledge is power” been more applicable than as a description of Adler’s work. Well-informed patients can collaborate with their physicians in decision making. They come to appointments with appropriate and insightful questions. They and their families can gain a sense of control and feel more confident about what the future will bring. When I see a new patient with lymphoma for the first time, so much more information can be exchanged, so much more ground can be covered, and, as a result, so much more peace of mind can be gained when the patient is knowledgeable about his or her disease. The second edition of Living with Lymphoma successfully incorporates the many advances in the understanding and treatment of lymphoma that have occurred in the past decade. New molecular biological assays to diagnose, categorize, and prognosticate are reviewed. The World Health Organization classification system for lymphomas that has replaced the Working Formulation is summarized with clarity. Modern imaging modalities such as PET/ Foreword xiii V CT scanning are discussed. New biological agents such as obinutuzumab, new immunotherapies such as chimeric antigen receptor therapy, and new tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as ibrutinib are seamlessly included among the many therapeutic options in the treatment of lymphoma. The important subject of cancer survivorship is thoroughly covered in a new chapter...


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