(NewsUSA) - This year, nearly 66,000 Americans will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) -- a cancer of the lymphatic system -- and between 30 and 40 percent of these patients will have indolent NHL, a slowly developing form that is difficult to treat because patients are prone to relapse after therapy.
Thankfully, there have been a number of advances in treating NHL. Recently, a study published in the journal Cancer showed that a chemotherapy called TREANDA (bendamustine HCl) for Injection produced durable responses in patients with indolent B-cell NHL whose disease had progressed within six months of treatment with a therapy called rituximab as a component.
This is good news for patients like 65-year-old Arlington, Texas, resident Eunice Kendall. In March 2008, Eunice began feeling pain in her back, and attributed it to arthritis. When the pain did not subside, she was referred to Dr. Sohail Akbani, a medical oncologist at the Arlington Cancer Center. Results from a CAT scan revealed that Eunice had indolent B-cell NHL.
Dr. Akbani began aggressive treatment for Eunice, including six cycles of a chemotherapy regimen called CHOP, a chemotherapy treatment, plus rituximab, a monoclonal antibody. Following her remission in July 2008, Dr. Akbani began Eunice on a rituximab maintenance therapy.
Despite maintenance therapy, Eunice's disease progressed. Dr. Akbani discovered this in August 2009 and began a bendamustine-based therapy after discussing treatment options with Eunice.
"When a patient is not responding to a certain therapy, we work to identify a treatment that may be the right choice," said Dr. Akbani. "Although Eunice was hesitant to receive chemotherapy again, I believed a bendamustine-based therapy would be an effective and tolerable option for her."
After receiving treatment with the bendamustine-based therapy, Eunice achieved remission. Individual results may vary.
Eunice has maintained her sense of humor and positive outlook on life and is very thankful for her health. Her days are now spent with her granddaughters, working in her garden, cheering on the Dallas Cowboys, and visiting family and friends.
"I'm only 65 years old," she says. "I've got a lot of living left to do."