Leading-Edge Care Helps Boater Beat Blood Cancer
Every day since he was a teenager, Lawrence Doyle, 78, has done at least one sit-up and one push-up for every year that he’s been alive. Even a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)—a cancer that affects a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte—in 2002 didn’t keep him from his exercise routine. But suddenly in 2008, Doyle felt too weak to stand.
He ended up at a nearby hospital, where he learned his NHL had transitioned to a faster-growing form of the disease.
“Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma causes symptoms such as fatigue and anemia,” says Stephen Noga, MD, PhD, chief of hematology at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. “As the cancer grows, it can affect the immune system and increase a patient’s susceptibility to infection, which can be deadly.”
Dr. Noga has been Doyle’s physician since his diagnosis nine years ago. So when Dr. Noga joined MedStar Franklin Square in October 2010, Doyle didn’t think twice about following him. “I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Noga’s talent and compassionate personality,” Doyle says. “I have complete confidence in him. He has become a friend and is a world-class oncologist.”
In addition to treating lymphoma, Dr. Noga and the multidisciplinary team at the hospital’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute specialize in diagnosing and treating any type of blood cancer, including:
- Leukemia, in which the bone marrow—tissue inside your bones—produces abnormal white blood cells
- Multiple myeloma, which causes levels of plasma cells, another type of white blood cell, to grow uncontrollably
Experimental Treatments Mean More Options
Traditionally, doctors treat NHL with chemotherapy and immunotherapy, but sometimes that’s not enough.
That’s where clinical trials come in. “Clinical trials allow us to offer patients state-of-the-art treatments that may provide a greater chance of curing the disease,” Dr. Noga says. Last year, Dr. Noga was involved in eight different trials for lymphoma treatments.
Based on the outcomes of a previous clinical trial, Dr. Noga put Doyle on an experimental medication, called Revlimid, which had shown promising results for patients whose NHL progresses from slow-growing to aggressive. “The disease is often more difficult to treat in people who experience this change,” Dr. Noga says. Doyle also underwent six sessions of chemotherapy and continues to take the medication today. His cancer is in remission.
Back to a “Great Life”Great Life.
Now that he’s in remission, he stays active by cleaning, washing and waxing it every chance he gets. “When the weather is good, and the boat’s running well, and I’m feeling good,” he says, “it truly is a great life.”
HERE FOR YOU
Dr. Noga is a nationally renowned hematology oncologist and the newest member of our medical oncology/hematology team at the Weinberg Cancer Institute at MedStar Franklin Square. Whether you need a second opinion or to find a physician, call us at 443-777-7900 for a referral.