Future goals: A hockey enthusiast finds the advanced treatment he needs to keep cancer under control
David Baldwin regularly pumped iron, laced his skates for grueling ice hockey games and generally lived a healthy life.
So when the 49-year-old didn’t quite feel himself back in July 2011, he decided to “work through it.” When David finally saw his primary care physician in August, his blood work revealed abnormal numbers. An ultrasound showed lesions on David’s liver and then a follow up CT scan confirmed the diagnosis. David had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver. “It was the worst news I could get,” David says. “I knew I was in for the fight of my life—starting immediately.”
On September 9, David underwent emergency surgery at Nazareth Hospital to remove the tumor in his colon and two months later he began chemotherapy to address the liver tumors. Lewis Rose, MD, medical oncologist, chair of Nazareth Hospital’s Cancer Committee, led this second phase and continues to guide David’s treatment plan today. “Dr. Rose is brilliant,” David stresses. “From the minute we met, I could see that he was going for a very aggressive treatment plan and he would do everything possible to get me healthy again.”
As a Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center Network physician and faculty member at Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Rose is recognized for his innovative approach to treating cancer. He resourcefully combines cutting-edge drug therapies and stays abreast of newer drugs. “You have to be creative with what’s available and push the envelope,” he says. “My patients have reasons to keep moving forward—and their lives are good when the disease is under control. That’s why I don’t quit until I’ve tried every resource available.”
Living with Cancer
For David, Dr. Rose chose a plan that combined chemotherapy with a drug called Avastin. “David had a dramatic response and is doing quite well right now,” Dr. Rose says. “To make sure we’re moving forward with the best maintenance program, we see him every three weeks.”
Maintenance is very important, Dr. Rose explains. “There are indications that we can’t cure David today, so the goal is to turn his disease into a controlled chronic illness for as long as possible. There are drugs coming down the pike that will hopefully benefit him. I’m trying to stay one step ahead of the game for David—and for all of my patients—as new treatments become available.”
It’s this steadfast focus on the future that drew David to Dr. Rose right from the start. “He never dwells on the past and we don’t discuss why I got cancer,” David says. “He only lets me look forward. That’s important to me—because I try to find the positive in everything. I’m back at work, back on the ice playing hockey and I’m back to living my life. Dr. Rose just nailed it for me. And I haven’t looked back once—only forward.”
To learn more about cancer services at Nazareth Hospital, call 1.866.NAZARETH (1.866.629.2738).
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