Sorry to hear that your friend has to deal with AML. It's great that he acheived remission after induction chemo! My husband was 32 1/2 at diagnosis. He will be 34 this summer. When determining treatment, the team of oncolgists weigh many factors. They will determine a patient's overall health, age, and underlying medical conditions. They also need to decide which treatment will be most effective with the least amount of damage to a patient's heart, lungs, liver, etc. Each AML subtype also has certain differences that can respond favorably/unfavorably to certain treatments. Your friend's team will do their best to provide a personalized plan that will work for him. There are success stories of folks in their 50's on this discussion board, you might have to read through a little bit of info to find them though.
Hi - my name is Linda and I actually had my transplant the same day as Dan. Although I'm not doing quite as well as Dan (he's superman!), I'm living a full, happy life with very few problems from the transplant. I was 57 when I was originally diagnosed, and 61 when I had my tranplant. Today, I am 62. So there are plenty of us older people who seem to be doing fine. Don't be afraid of age!
Hev, just as danswife stated, an awful lot of things factor into whether you can/should go right to transplant after achieving remission for AML: subtype, your friend's particular chromosomal abnormalities, etc.
I didn't go right to transplant, I was AML M2, and 49 years at diagnosis in 2006. They recommended 4 consolidation rounds and we'd see how long of a lasting remission I got. I did well for almost two years, then relapsed just shy of my 2-year remission anniversary. So then, my only option was an unrelated allo BMT, but---it was harder to get back into remission prior to the transplant, which it often is for people. Now, luckily for me, enough time had passed for me to use some of the more toxic (but effective) chemos again, and after an extra induction, I did achieve remission and could go forward with the transplant. But if your friend has all those consolidations and then relapses after only a few weeks or months---which, of course, is not a given by any means, but does happen....it may be tough to get him back into remission, and some effective chemos may be too toxic for him since they had been so recently used. So---all I am saying is, these are things to consider when wondering why his doctor is suggesting going right to transplant.
BTW, I had an unrelated allo BMT, as I said, in July 2008. It's been 2.5 years, and I have had no problems of any kind with post-transplant complications---though every transplant is different. I returned to work at 6 mos. and lead a pretty darned normal life. I'm going to be 55 in April. I would do it all over again (well, it was kind of my only choice!) as it has been smooth sailing for me.
Good luck to your friend, and keep us posted. BTW, as Linda said, don't fear age. 59 used to be older in the transplant world, now not so---my transplant hospital does SCTs into the early 70s....
Hi sorry that you had to find this board. My partner was almost 51 ( 4 days shy of her 51st birthday) when she was dxd. She was on the same study and protocol as Dan. However to reiterate Darcy's point there were 3 women ranging in age from 50-60 on the onc floor when Kathy was first diagnosed, all with AML and all with different moleucular characteristics and three different treatment plans; Kathy had 3 drugs for induction, consolidation and then mobilization and harvest of sc and then myoblative chemo and an auto sct; one woman had 4 rounds of chemo following induction and she is now on an experimental drug; while the third woman who was 60 with a FLT3+ genotype had a mini allo transplant after a round of consolodation. All women almost a year out are disease free...
I went straight to transplant. In my case, my counts returned very slowly from my first induction. Because of that my doc didn't think consolidation would do very much for me and it was better just to get the transplant behind us. One of the primary factors my counts were slow was that I had Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Your friend might be dealing with that.
It's unusual to go straight to transplant but it seems to be catching on, You're the second person to bring it up this year.
As for age, some places are doing transplants on folks in their 70s. I went through my transplant with a few folks who were in their 60s (as high as they'd go back then) who did fine. I think more young folks have success because, frankly, there are more of them having transplants. For an "old person's disease," AML seems to really attack a lot of younger people.
Although I'm not doing quite as well as Dan (he's superman!)
Dan also had an auto while you have a haplo...that's still borderline experimental and can be hell on a body. I don't want to diminish what Dan's accomplished but, still. If you're going to compare yourself to someone around here, find someone more your own size (or tx type).
You're doing incredibly well, Linda.
Our internet/cable/phone were kinda wonky for a few days due to high winds, so I couldn't post last week when Dan's BMB came back. Everything still looks good and he remains leukemia free. We also had court Wednesday and it looks like our little guys will be moving in full-time this coming Friday The legal stuff could take a while, but we are ok with that! I think everything we have been through together has prepared us to take it all one step at a time. Dan and I will now be Mom and Dad to four kids instead of two.
I have been following your posts since the beginning. My son (21 years old - college student) participated in the same study as Dan. I thought you might like to hear his story. He also had AML M4. He had the autologous transplant and completed all the decitabine cycles. He returned to school 45 days post transplant and has finished one full year of college since the transplant (straight A's). He is also a varsity athlete who returned to his team this fall and has completed a whole season. He is 18 months post diagnosis and 15 months post transplant so he is a litte ahead of Dan. Life has returned to some level of normal.
Oh it feels so good to be able to say the word "normal" again, doesn't it?
I also did the Decitabine trail. I was DX in Jan. '08 with AML M5. I had an Auto transplant in June '08. I finished the Decitabine trail in August of '09.
I am so glad your son is doing well. Tell him to keep up the good work!!!!