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M&M: Gerald Rourke and Dr. Arnold Freedman

Aug 22, 2012|

Gerald Rourke shares his story about the pioneering treatment Dr. Arnold Freedman, Hematology Oncologogist, gave him to treat his Lymphom. Gerry mentions how wonderful the people involved at Dana-Farber have been throughout while Dr. Freedman describes the clinical advances made in the treatment of lymphomas over the past ten years.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Gerri nice to -- -- no pleasure to meet your your your doctor you -- own party -- -- last year -- good to see you get to see an -- start with your patient that's okay -- -- we'll get to you when -- golf iron second -- But you -- diagnosis at eleven years ago now for the first time you walked in -- doctor's office and intelligent. -- have cancer talk about that. Well we're sure you when magician there was a pretty frightening experience when you actually have the diagnosis. That I am a former and at some point I was actually mad in my mind I didn't. Couldn't believe it I -- how could that be. And then when I realized that I didn't just put my faith and trust in the and the doctors within a firmer and overcame that fear and let them take care of the medical side note from. Mean -- I try to do -- have a positive attitude. And without leave all Leo all the medical side to with the doctor Friedman nearly a mile doctors -- in the for all. On a second he's gonna give you a lot of credit give birth to her what you've been there will get to that being said you went through that moment you're diagnosed lymphoma and you were angered about it. How long does that why me. A situation like. Wasn't that long because -- not long after the diagnosis. A little apprehensive about what what happened to an hour here a couple of former and and they're talking about cash tonight here this group about chemo and radiation and all about them. This is it. One little thing that stands out in my mind is in fact I told doctor -- only that in one of the very early consultations. With the doctor. Before -- started any treatment they should. I think we'd like to do a bone marrow aspirations. And of course -- didn't -- to roll with me. Are reluctantly I looked out a memento of well. Here I guess so and I should rumors don't like to endure -- is how well right now. How old are we got up and we went in the the mood in the room area. Appreciate your room and let me just show within ten minutes I was out there and I had nothing but a little -- ended on my back. And I think that was sort of the turning point for me that. Unrealized. How lucky I was to be inflation within proper and yeah I just did we do wonders for army just turn me around and and then I realized. Just. In fact when the doctors said to me just I don't want to worry about -- real worry about the medical side of it and that's what I try to do. Jerry they give us a Chichi and so we can read up on you guys -- -- I did double take and I silly 75 years old. You're immune react on the IRA every shift in November. You're pretty active guy you know sit -- -- the house area. Long I don't know why you -- -- gonna learn a little bit Maria. We like to travel. We. One of our most memorable -- return to Israel and Jordan. Last year and we've been done. Should explain just cruise who's been there we go to Florida third and try to play you can golf I don't play as much as doctor Friedman -- lock stock breath. I certainly do enjoy it. And the other thing that keeps me very busy and not prove his -- -- My grandchildren move them all growing up now what everyone who's been the issue here about. And the other his brother is -- captain -- for fallen. And basketball for -- finish school and he's only junior. And he plays JU basketball and they keep me very very busy -- -- -- assault football and basketball ball industrial base although. And no baseball though no they did play -- give it up for. -- Poland after -- kind of hope they're much child and I don't. Sounds like a solid your great athletes and it sounds like you were trying to give doctor Friedman all the credit but we sat down today and and doctor Friedman called view. You called Jerry pioneer correct what what do you mean by that how is -- a pioneer how is he helped. Fight -- for other patients. So the kind of lymphoma that Jerry has so it's low cost fully kill informants one -- sixteen different kinds of lymphoma it's so low grade disease not always needing treatment. And if I think back when I first started Dana Farber thirty years ago the survival of patients like Jerry was on average seven to nine years. Now we have people on average probably surviving well and excessive. At 1215 years and living normal -- since he certainly attest that. One of the reasons for that is unquestionably. The advances in treatment we treat people much differently today. Then we did 510. Years ago and -- really has participated in multiple at least for clinical trials that have impacted how we take care -- people today so he was willing. To take that leap of faith to participate in a clinical study with new drugs. He actually was part of a randomized trial early on where he didn't get the new drug but he was willing to take that. Faith that leap of faith to be part of that trial. Even though he didn't get the new drug in the new drug did give a benefit for the people who guided. The fact that he participated made an impact for many many others who've come. After him and will come in the future that he's participated in other treatments. Many of which involve stimulating his immune system to fight his cancer end. Here's a guy 75 he looks terrific he plays currently travels with his wife. He still works and I think that's. Testament to the advances in the treatment of these disease and the fact that he's so active anyway does that help. Well I think in general we tell our patients to be as active as they can I think it makes a difference it makes people feel better it makes them more resilient it maintains their strength. It keeps people a little more relaxed if they're active so I think. That that type of approach really is important for our patience is so he's got to have you know that the pioneering that the guts to try some of this this new stuff right but the new stuff that you're talking about these new drugs these. New ideas people coming up with. That doesn't happen when our research dollars I mean we don't just invented it without the dollars behind it correct correct there's no question now unfortunately researchers become more and more expensive to do the the regulatory aspects of running clinical trials all the tests all the cat scans you have to go through. Insurance companies don't pay for that somebody's got to pay for that -- -- research dollars and support from. Companies that are trying to develop new treatments for our patients aren't. National cancer institute and other agencies the American Cancer Society we're all working together to raise the funds to do the work. Especially here at Dana Farber to really advance the treatment and this guy is is clearly evidence for that. You two had a lot of golf discussions it is we always -- the -- -- neither of us play as much as we'd like to go lower there's always you describe is always calls guys and how your game is either you were as good as you would pretend to be Arizona's Oregon. It could have happened -- comment about TrueCrypt was about a golf we don't know we have to we we just like her funny -- -- -- -- -- I guess I have to -- that's why we have seen it -- -- believe we don't GX four out of town right now in terms of of lymphoma. And terms of where we are. And the types of cancers -- your testicular cancer is that as good survival rate. Pancreatic cancer may be -- on the lower end of that worst lymphoma doctor in terms of that scale we're looking at that way. So again really in the past decade the survival of patients has increased quite dramatically and depending on the kind of lymphoma because again lymphoma is not one disease it is. More than sixty different types of diseases but we have cure rates in many of these diseases as high as 95. Percent to end. Close to a 100% -- unfortunately. There are also some of the diseases we treat with a cure rate is less than 50% but no matter wide. Even the diseases that I like to call pre curable the survival of our patience is dramatically better. Then it was 51015. Years ago so we need not be cheering everybody but we're making a big impact in how long people continue to survive. It's a great story my question -- you like to travel worse the next spot Jordan and Israel last year where we go on next actually reliever in September 4 -- trip up -- can't refer. Seven or eight days wow and then on our. My -- my birthday and my wife Ruth -- Iran won't turn your whole -- truth is going to be on that we 122 -- who both. Really being on November 8 for rumor for five days while they both orientations and it's a great story -- don't know -- really appreciate you sharing with us today Gerri thank you so much for coming in doctor as always great to talk would you please -- --

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