Chuck Pagano can now be considered in remission, said his oncologist Dr. Larry Cripe, an associate professor of medicine at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center.
But that’s not the same as being cured.
Doctors know that Pagano’s disease — acute promyelocytic leukemia – can recur if a patient receives only one round of chemotherapy. The standard approach, therefore, calls for a total of three rounds and then maintenance treatment over a course of about two years post diagnosis, Cripe said.
A bone marrow aspirate test did not detect any evidence of disease, leading Cripe to pronounce Pagano in remission.
Still, statistics show that with cancers of this type, it’s necessary not to ease up on the chemotherapy at this point, in case cancer is still lurking.
“We need to keep going and we will not be able to use the word ‘cure’ for four or five years,” Cripe said.