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Dr. George Follows out of Cambridge, UK is a great teacher on how to understand the nature of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and how best to approach our personal disease management.
At the 2016 European Hematology Association Congress, he chaired the panel of 4 where I spoke in front of more than a 1,000 hematologists on “The Evolution of CLL Management – Is It Time to Re-evaluate Our Approach?
Dr. Follows has an intuitive understanding of how we patients need to think about our CLL and offered practical advice to all of us.
Take Away Points:
- CLL management is changing fast.
- To get the best possible care, it is critical to know the genetics of your CLL before receiving treatment.
- Cancer can be understood as a disease of the DNA, not the genetics we are born with, but the genetics of our cancer.
- It is never a bad idea to get a second opinion, as CLL is a complex and relatively rare disease.
- Talk to your doctor and share your concerns and questions. If your doctor isn’t receptive, get a new doctor.
- It is important to be strategic in the management of our CLL. Much as in a chess match, when we make one move, we must consider our future moves down the line. For example, will chemotherapy limit our future options?
- The job of a physician is to translate what we know and what we don’t know about CLL to help to guide a patient’s risks and decisions.
- Smart patients are getting smart care.
Dr. Follows offers us a sound primer on how to get our best possible care in a rapidly changing world.
I really enjoyed this interview from EHA 2016 and hope all the readers do also.
Brian Koffman, MD