See the Story on Katie Couric's Website here.
Katie Couric has spent many years advocating for patients with cancer.
In a recent interview, Katie asked our study's principal investigator, Irene Ghobrial, MD, to help readers understand why blood cancers are often diagnosed too late. Most of us, even people with risk factors for blood cancers such as Multiple Myeloma, Lymphoma, and Waldenström Macroglobulinemia may not ever be screened until they have symptoms.
Read an excerpt of the article here:
What if we got routine screenings for blood cancer the way we do for breast cancer and colon cancer? Dr. Irene Ghobrial, a senior physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and SU2C researcher, says a simple blood test could allow doctors to detect blood cancer, intercept it, and potentially cure the disease.
Through the PROMISE study, Dr. Ghobrial and her team are screening high-risk patients for multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer, which sees around 30,000 people diagnosed with it each year. We spoke with Dr. Ghobrial about screening for blood cancer and how her team is now using their research to fight Covid-19.
Wake-Up Call: Why do we not get regularly screened for blood cancer like we do for breast cancer and colon cancer?
Dr. Irene Ghobrial: It’s a great question. In general, cancer screening saves lives, right? So if we screen for every cancer, we could detect it early and prevent it from becoming symptomatic. Other cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer have had many years where people have worked on trying to understand how to screen them. Both of these cancers are harder to screen, because you have to do a colonoscopy or a mammogram. However, blood cancers should be as easy as a blood sample to get the screening done. Multiple myeloma, [a blood cancer], is a very easy disease to detect early on just by blood tests.
What kind of blood cancer is multiple myeloma?
If you think about blood cancer, people often think of leukemia and lymphoma. However, multiple myeloma, although rare, is actually the second most common blood cancer that we have, and it’s the biggest cause of mortality. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow — crowding out the normal plasma cells that help fight infection.