Stage 4 lung cancer: How innovative treatments saved this retiree

A latest retiree and avid water skier, life was fairly good for 70-year-old Richard Blassick.
However that each one modified in February of 2017 when Blassick of Prospect Heights began noticing delicate indicators that one thing was unsuitable.

“It all began when I noticed I was getting dizzy in the morning as I got out of bed,” remembers the retiree. “One time, I even passed out. That was my cue that it was time to see the doctor.”
So Blassick had a bodily and was referred to heart specialist Dr. Barry Laskoe as a result of his coronary heart price was decrease than it needs to be.
They decided he wanted a pacemaker put in.
Little did Blassick know that pacemaker might have saved his life in additional methods than one.
“I remember the pacemaker had been put in successfully, and I was nearly ready to go home,” he remembers.
“But before I was discharged, I needed an X-ray to ensure everything was good to go. Well, it turns out on the X-ray, the radiologist saw a large mass on my lung,” he stated. “They did a biopsy, and I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. I was in shock. I had no symptoms and didn’t feel sick.”
Lung most cancers is usually often called the silent killer. Oftentimes, when signs are evident, the illness has metastasized or unfold considerably all through the lungs and the physique.
In Blassick’s case, it had unfold to his adrenal gland.
However Blassick was decided to beat this silent killer and get again to his energetic way of life.
He went by way of immunotherapy on the route of his hematologist/oncologist Dr. David Hakimian, which shrunk the tumor, and in November of final yr, Dr. Axel Joob and Dr. Michael Vercillo carried out minimally invasive surgical procedure on his proper decrease lung — a lung lobectomy — to take away the tumor.
“I’m a big proponent of minimally invasive surgery,” says Blassick. “You could barely tell that I had any surgery after the procedure. I had three little scars on my side which were barely visible, and I was home within a day and half.”
Following his surgical procedure, Blassick wanted yet one more process to make sure he was most cancers free.
“After the excellent result of immunotherapy with significant reduction of tumor volume and the successful lung lobectomy on the patient’s right lung, the only residual metastatic localization was in the left adrenal gland,” says Dr. Fabio Sbrana, a surgeon who focuses on surgical oncology and minimally invasive robotic surgical procedure at Advocate Lutheran Basic Hospital in Park Ridge.
“For this reason, I performed a robotic left adrenalectomy, and due to the minimal surgical trauma of the robotic procedure, Mr. Blassick was discharged from the hospital less than 48 hours after his surgery,” stated St. Sbrana. “This result was possible because of the many notable advantages of minimally invasive surgery compared with traditional open surgery, resulting in significantly improved recovery.”
“It’s amazing that I’m cancer free now,” says Blassick only a week after his surgical procedure. “In fact, I feel better now than I did before my diagnosis. It’s really a miracle what those doctors did.”
“It is very rare to be able to offer surgery for stage four lung cancer patients and for the surgical specimens to have no evidence of residual cancer after surgery,” says Dr. Axel Joob, a thoracic surgeon at Lutheran Basic Hospital. “The fact that Richard is cancer free a year after his diagnosis is amazing.”
“His case is classic for lung cancer patients in that he had no symptoms until it had spread,” says Dr. Michael Vercillo, a thoracic surgeon at Lutheran Basic Hospital. “Early detection through screenings and smoking cessation are really the most powerful tools in the fight against this often-deadly form of cancer. When we find the cancer early, there are a lot of options available with positive results and long-term survival.”


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