You might say I was born to tell you my story. My birthday is CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia) Awareness Day. My experiences as a cancer survivor, journalist and healthcare executive have enabled me to be a strong advocate for myself, and for others around the world. Until recently a CML diagnosis meant you could expect to die within a short time. Today, in most cases, CML can be managed with a fairly new type of cancer treatment - targeted drug therapy. It's sort of like chemo in a pill and can have nasty side effects, but they do get better with time. There are no guarantees; complications and mutations can arise and CML continues to take far too many lives. Treatment is lifelong and very expensive. The search for a cure continues. From the beginning, my CML journey has been shared with others through blogs, online forums and my work as the Cancer Guide for a women's health website, EmpowHER.com. I also provide volunteer support for national and international patient advocacy groups. Through these forums I've met CML patients from around the world and become part of a very special group of people who have much in common no matter what our age, sex, race or country. When you have a rare cancer it can be hard to find accurate information and it's extremely important to learn from fellow patients, and to share what you know too. CML's cause is unknown. It starts in your genes when for some unknown reason a section of chromosome 9 switches places with a section of chromosome 22. This creates a new chromosome and gene, which tells the body to produce a protein that in turn causes the production of leukemia cancer cells. CML Awareness Day is on 9/22 because of the involvement of the 9 and 22 genes. Before my diagnosis I had never even heard of CML but now I'm happy to spend my birthdays, and every day, helping others learn about this rare cancer.
Pat Elliott's Stand
Member since October 01, 2010
Pat Elliott location: Phoenix, AZ cancer type: Leukemia
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