Friday, May 08, 2015

Tom Brokaw chronicles his living with multiple myeloma on NBC Dateline

Last night, NBC Dateline varied from crime cases and went back to medicine, with one of its own, former anchor Tom Brokaw, author of “The Greatest Generation”, and now a new book, “A Lucky Life, Interrupted”.  Brokaw described his struggle with multiple myeloma, a cancer of certain plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Brokaw, while living at his ranch in Montana, had been experiencing back pain.  After a particular incident involving falling into water, he experienced severe pain and visited the Mayo Clinic  and was diagnosed.  Then he received treatment at Sloan-Kettering near his home in New York City.
The symptoms sometimes include bone fractures, as bones are weakened by tumor cells.  The symptoms can be in any bone, but are more common in spine, ribs and sternum. Brokaw had several small verbetra fractures, which had to be fused by surgery.  Another symptom is kidney damage.  But the cancer is often slow growing, and might be asymptomatic for years.  It is more common in elderly men.  The disease seems to be related to random mutations that become more probable as one ages.  Chemotherapy can put the tumor in remission but not cure it.
Brokaw looked weak during the treatment but looks much better now.


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