healtheo360 Wellness Blog
KATU/ABC News(WEST LINN, Ore.) -- Jake Stoneking's bucket list seems quite reasonable. A hunting trip, a tattoo and a trip to the local topless bar: all doable in the 19-year-old's hometown of West Linn, Ore.
"He put stuff on there that he knows can happen," said Jake's dad, Todd Stoneking. "We know the time's coming. We know it's coming. But he's doing pretty good and we can still do a lot of things."
Jake Stoneking has medulloblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. He was diagnosed at the age of 14 after a string of unbearable headaches.
"He had a tumor removed about the size of a golf ball," Todd Stoneking said, recalling the 12-hour surgery in 2009 followed by months of radiation and chemo. "It pretty much took him down to nothing."
Once a 140-pound wrestler with "six-pack abs," Jake Stoneking withered to 104 pounds throughout the grueling treatment as he re-learned how to walk and eat, according to his dad.
"We thought it was gone," Todd Stoneking said of the tumor in Jake Stoneking' cerebellum – the brain center for balance and coordination. "They did scans every three months for a year to make sure it was gone. After that they did them every six months, and then once a year. We found out in February it was back."
Back with a vengeance, the tumor stretches from Jake Stoneking's brain to the bottom of his spinal cord, where his nerves are "matted" with cancer, according to his dad.
"The doctor told us he'd have three months," Todd Stoneking said, adding that Jake Stoneking is taking two experimental chemo drugs that could buy him an extra year. By Tuesday, the drugs were starting to take their toll.
"They said he would drop down really low Tuesday and then start feeling better Thursday," Todd Stoneking said. "They're going to do two rounds, and if it starts shrinking with these two treatments, they'll go ahead and keep treating him for up to 12 months."
Jake Stoneking started his bucket list when one night he couldn't sleep, according to his dad.
"He was up late, thinking, 'I want to do this, I want to do that,'" said Todd Stoneking. "We're knocking 'em off as fast as we can and we're adding them in between."
So far Jake Stoneking has checked five items off the 17-item list, including a helicopter ride and a visit to Jiggles – the local topless bar. Still left on the list: hunting a black bear, laughing until he cries and getting "Stoneking" tattooed on his back.
"It's bittersweet," said Todd Stoneking, explaining how friends are rallying to help Jake check off the rest of Jake's bucket list. "Some 19-year-olds die in car crashes and their parents wish they could have one more day. We're getting lots of one more days."
Todd Stoneking said that Jake Stoneking is not only his son, he's his best friend.
"It'd be easier if he wasn't," he said through tears. "He's an awesome kid. And I'm not just saying because he's mine. There's something about him, his infectious smile.
"I know what they mean now about heartache," he added with a shaky voice. "It just aches."
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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(RIO DE JANEIRO) -- Researchers have made great strides in early detection and prevention for cervical cancer, the third-most common cancer in women, including the HPV vaccine. But with all the progress, there are still thousands of women with advanced disease, and the five-year survival rate for late-stage cervical cancer is 15 percent. That number may now climb dramatically, if the results of a trial for Erlotinib, now in its second phase, proves typical.
The standard care for advanced cervical cancer is chemo-radiation and Cisplatin, a nonspecific drug. Erlotinib, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor, is a type of biologic medication targeting growth receptors in the cancerous cells -- they can’t grow and cancer recedes.
For the study, which is published in the journal Cancer, Brazilian researchers at the Instituto de Cancer in Rio de Janeiro conducted a small trial in 36 women with Stage II and III cervical cancer (which now has a survival rate of 40 percent). After 77 weeks of treatment, all but two patients saw a complete disappearance of the cancer. At two and three years out, 92 percent and 80 percent of women survived, respectively.
Side effects of Erlotinib were generally manageable with patients experiencing mostly rashes and diarrhea.
According to the study authors, this is the first study to show that a target agent has promising activity against locally advanced cervical cancer. Still, more research is needed as the data presented in the trial is only preliminary.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio