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Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 Recent Inspirational Cancer (and Other) Survival Stories

Recently, a 15-year-old boy survived as a stowaway in a wheel well during a 5-hour flight from California to Hawaii, despite being exposed to subzero temperatures and oxygen depletion. Here are 10 other recent inspirational cases of improbable survival based on a review of published scientific data.

These cases show that one should never give up no matter what the diagnosis is. Be sure to send this to any friends or family with serious medical problems for inspiration. The numbers of the references below correspond to the numbers of the cases cited. Links to the free articles are provided when available.

FEATURED BOOK: The Cancer Survivor's Companion

1. BREAST CANCER: A 55-year-old woman with recurrent breast cancer survived long-term (about 5 years) after developing abnormal fluid and pressure buildup around the heart due to inflammation of the sac-like covering around the heart, which was caused by the spread of cancer cells there. Such long-term survival is usually rare. A surgical procedure that created an opening to drain the fluid around the heart likely helped extend her life.

2. MENINGITIS: A 6-year-old boy survived a battle with a rare and more than 95% fatal form of meningitis caused by an amoeba (Naegleria fowleri ). He received immediate treatment, which is believed to central to saving his life. He was discharged home in 3 weeks.

3. MALE REPRODUCTIVE CANCER: A 45-year-old man survived a rare form of blood vessel cancer in the reproductive system after receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. He has been cancer-free for 6 years since therapy ended, the longest ever reported. The multi-modal therapy was considered to be a factor in his survival.

4. STOMACH CANCER: An 84-year-old man with advanced stomach cancer that spread to the liver and lymph nodes achieved long-term progression-free survival with a new individualized treatment approach: use of Avastin (which slows the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors) combined with low-dose S-1 (chemotherapy).

5. NO LIVER FUNCTION: A 66-year-old man survived after 66 hours (odd coincidence) of no liver functioning due to severe bleeding complications during a liver transplant while awaiting a second suitable donor organ.  There were no known neurological complications, which is also unusual.

6. INTESTINAL CANCER: A 45-year-old man with a rare form of recurrent cancer of the small intestine has been disease free after 8 years following surgery and multiple forms of chemotherapy.

7. MULTIPLE ORGAN SYSTEM DYSFUNCTION (MODS): A 55-year-old man is the oldest man known to survive MODS, which is the leading cause of death in intensive care units. Prognostic indicators indicated certain death in his case yet he survived, recovering almost all organ function after 6 weeks. He had developed MODS after suffering a stroke.

8. THYMUS CANCER: A 73-year-old man with a rare form of cancer of the thymus obtained long-term (greater than 4 years) of progression free survival and good quality of life. The thymus is an organ located in the upper part of the chest and is very important in producing substances that protect the body against disease. The patient achieved his long-term survival after treatment with S-1 when first-line chemotherapy and radiation failed.

9. MULTIPLE BRAIN TUMORS: A 51-year-old woman survived for three years after developing two different types of brain tumors at once: glioblastoma and meningioma. This is the first known case of its kind to have survived this long.

10. HEART ATTACK AND HYPOTHERMIA: A 65-year-old woman survived without any problems after suffering a heart attack from deep accidental hypothermia.

References:

1. Ikeda H, Kikawa Y, Nakamoto Y, Takeo M, Yamamoto M. (2013). A patient with recurrent breast cancer showing long-term survival after developing pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade caused by carcinomatous pericarditis. Breast Care (Basel). 8(1):71-3. Free article here.

2. Sood A, Chauhan S, Chandel L, Jaryal SC. (2014). Prompt diagnosis and extraordinary survival from Naegleria fowleri meningitis: A rare case report. Indian J Med Microbiol. 32(2):193-6. Free article here.

3. Chang K, Sio TT, Chandan VS, Iott MJ, Hallemeier CL. (2014). Angiosarcoma of the seminal vesicle: a case report of long-term survival following multimodality therapy.Rare Tumors.6(1):5202. Free article here.

4. Fang J, Wang H, Xu Q. (2013). Bevacizumab combined with low-dose S-1 as maintenance therapy with a long progression-free survival in an elderly patient with heavily pre-treated advanced gastric cancer: A case report. Biomed Rep. (2):239-242. Free article here.

5. Photi E, Crawford M, Pulitano C. (2014). Long-term survival after 66 hours of anhepatic time with no neurological deficit. Ann Transplant. 19:93-5.

6. Nagaraj G, Zarbalian Y, Flora K, Tan BR Jr. (2014). Complete response and prolonged disease-free survival in a patient with recurrent duodenal adenocarcinoma treated with bevacizumab plus FOLFOX6. J Gastrointest Oncol. 5(1):E1-6. Free article here.

7. Kleiman DA, Barie PS. (2014). Survival in Fully Manifest Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome. Surg Infect (Larchmt). (epub).

8. Tanaka H, Morimoto T, Taima K, Tanaka Y, Nakamura K, Hayashi A, Kurose A, Okumura K, Takanashi S. (2013). The long-term survival of a thymic carcinoma patient treated with S-1: a case report and literature review. Onco Targets Ther. (2013). 7:87-90. Free article here.

9. Linhares P, Martinho O, Carvalho B, Castro L, Lopes JM, Vaz R, Reis RM. (2013). Analysis of a synchronous gliosarcoma and meningioma with long survival: A case report and review of the literature. Surg Neurol Int. 4:151.

10. Meyer M, Pelurson N, Khabiri E, Siegenthaler N, Walpoth BH. (2014). Sequela-free long-term survival of a 65-year-old woman after 8 hours and 40 minutes of cardiac arrest from deep accidental hypothermia.(2014). J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 147(1):e1-2.

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