Friday, May 15, 2015

ASCO is almost here!

First, and update on the situation with my new oncologist:

After I finally got an appointment scheduled, and then re-scheduled, the onc's office left a message saying my Thursday appointment wasn't going to work, and that they were rescheduling me for Wednesday instead (not asking -- telling). But I have something at work on Wednesday that I just cannot miss. So I called back and tried to reschedule again. The doctor is booked, and then is going on vacation for two weeks in June, and he doesn't come in on Thursdays. So the first appointment they could get me was June 26.

(I will say, the office staff was apologetic, and the secretary did ask if I was having problems, and I told her honestly that I was not, and that this was a routine appointment for bloodwork and a physical exam. So that was good.)

Five minutes later, she called back again to tell me I was back on for next Thursday. From what I can tell, the doctor is being very accommodating.

Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it goes.


To the more important news: ASCO is back!

ASCO is the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and it is one of the largest meetings of practicing oncologists in the country. This year, it will take place May 29-June 2 in Chicago. It's huge -- about 30,000 people attend, and the sessions cover pretty much every cancer-related topic you can think of. So unlike ASH, which focuses only on blood diseases, ASCO has a smaller number of Follicular Lymphoma sessions. However, because this conference is such a big deal, they are often pretty significant sessions.

I can tell that ASCO is coming up because I'm starting to see some press releases online describing pharma companies' products that will be discussed at ASCO. It's a sure sign of summer (right up there with the half inch of yellow pollen covering my car, and all the sneezing that goes with it, enough to make me wonder if non-stop sneezing is some weird new lymphoma symptom [it isn't]).

Some of the press releases I have seen in the last few days:

Of course, these press releases aren't all related to Follicular Lymphoma directly. It seems like Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is getting more good news at ASCO. I looked at the abstracts for CLL, and just looking at the number of sessions, it seems like there has been a ton of great CLL news in the last year or two; I have to say I'm a little jealous.

(I also came across an abstract for T-Cell Lymphoma, something I don't read much about, that mentioned "Smoldering Adult T-Cell Lymphoma." It's a very slow-growing type of T-Cell Lymphoma that doesn't present very clearly. I think "Smoldering" is a pretty cool name for a lymphoma. Not to make light of it, but I think some Lymphoma Rock Star should propose that those of us with asymptomatic, stable or waning Follicular Lymphoma have "Smoldering FL." It sounds sexy as hell. At least then, when I think about when my cancer is going to grow again, I think about the smoldering passion between William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in Body Heat. Now that's what I call cancer!)

Of course, I did take a look at the ASCO abstracts for Follicular Lymphoma. And there are some good ones. It looks like the big news this year for FL will involved Rituxan + Revlimid, or R Squared. Looks like some good news there.

My plan is to review some of the ASCO abstracts related to Follicular Lymphoma over the next few weeks. I'm excited about what I'm seeing. And if I come across some nice expert commentary by a Rock Star or two, I will pass that along as well.

Stay tuned.


Rodrigo Carvalho said...

Hi Bob
My doctor told me that CLL is similiar to FL. He thinks that in a near future, all the good news from CLL that we hear now will be avaliable to FL.

Barbara Patch said...

Thanks, Bob. I really enjoy your blog.

Lymphomaniac said...

Barbara, thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoy the blog.
Rodrigo, yes, FL and CLL are similar -- both indolent lymphomas. Let's hope they are similar enough that some of that good research does help us out some day.

Rodrigo Carvalho said...

Cll is actually a leukemia.

Lymphomaniac said...

Yes, Rodrigo, it is a leukemia. However, it is virtually the same disease as Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma. The difference is that it is called CLL when the cancer cells are in the blood, and SLL when the cells are in the lymph nodes. But they are the same cancer cells, and CLL and SLL are treated the same way. So CLL is often listed as a lymphoma.

Rodrigo Carvalho said...

Thanks Bob. I did not know that