I know that last week Lisa posted about our delay in treatment. I got an update on that as well as some very welcome news along with it!
The reason that we had the delay in the first part was because of the clinical trial that I agreed to participate in. In this trial they are developing a vaccine for Pancreatic Cancer. I won’t go into the specifics now, but the whole thing is fascinating. Apparently though this vaccine needs to be administered one week before Chemo starts. So that pushed us back a little. In addition to that this is phase 3 (of 3) of the study. This is the one that is presented to the FDA for approval before commercialization of the drug. Because the FDA strictly scrutinizes this particular aspect of the study, they are very particular about whom the allow as a subject.
Yesterday I received a call from my Oncologist (He’s also the one leading this study). He old me that they had done a thorough review of my medical records and have determined that I’m not a candidate for this study. You see, they are developing a vaccine for pancreatic cancer. I don’t have pancreatic cancer. I have Ampullary Cancer. Although they are similar, they are different.
The Ampulla is somewhat similar to your body’s bile duct. Bile ducts come from the Gall Bladder and the Liver, the Ampulla comes from the Pancreas. Because this particular type of cancer is so rare, it doesn’t get its own classification. It simply just gets lumped in with the pancreatic type. Biologically though the two type of tumors are very different. The Ampullary tumor is far less aggressive than the Pancreatic tumor.
According to Devalingam Mahalingam, M.D., Ph.D, my new oncologist, the rate of recurrence for Amullary Cancer, without Chemo and Radiation is only about 30%. In fact, there are no clinical studies on Ampullary Cancer to even suggest that Chemo and Radiation reduce the chance of reoccurrence. In my mind, that all very good news. I have to be honest, the odds the doctors were giving us prior to yesterday were not anywhere as good as this.
Dr. Mahalingam did say that the treatment for both Pancreatic and Apullary tumors are identical. He went on to say that in his clinical opinion I should go ahead and submit to Chemo and Radiation. I am in total agreement. So I will begin on Monday afternoon.
From my perspective this is simply affirming what I’ve believed all along. Once this treatment is over, I get to return to my regular life again! There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel.
I have said many times, “God isn’t done with me yet. I’ve got way too much to do!”