Tom Brokaw on His Cancer Battle: 'I'm Going to Be OK'

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 11:48 AM

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Veteran NBC News veteran Tom Brokaw spoke out about his health at the Peabody Awards on Monday, saying he has been humbled by the experience of undergoing treatment for bone marrow cancer, but is "going to be OK."

Brokaw has multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. The NBC News veteran accepted the Peabody achievement award at the Waldorf Astoria on Monday, and addressed his health, the Huffington Post reports.

Editor’s Note: These 5 Things Activate Cancer In Your Body

"This is a humbling moment for me," Brokaw said. “If you live long enough these kind of awards come to you and/or you get cancer. Turns out, I ended up getting both. It’s going to work out. Life is going to
 be OK because I’m in the enviable position of getting the best
 treatment in the world and it has made me much more conscious of what a privilege it is to have the kind of job that I have."
 
The 74-year-old newsman also told the New York Post's Page Six Monday that was "blindsided" by the diagnosis last August and revealed in February.
 
His comments Monday echoed his recent remarks to the Associated Press. In an interview in April, he said that his doctors believe his treatment will "be successful."

Brokaw told TVNewser he's approached his cancer "both in human terms, and as a journalist. "
 
He said he researched the cancer he is being treated for and other cancers. Brokaw continues to report for "Today," and "NBC Nightly News," and will be doing special pieces for the upcoming 70th anniversary of D-Day, all while undergoing treatment. Brokaw led NBC’s coverage of the 60th anniversary of D-Day from Normandy, France.
 
"There's a larger light at the end of the tunnel," Brokaw said. While there are "no guarantees," he said he is fortunate to have access to the type of medical treatment he needs.
 
In February,oncologists told Newsmax Health Brokaw has reason to be optimistic about his future.
 
"Most patients with multiple myeloma can come in for treatment, but otherwise they live a normal life. There is no downtime and there is no reason they should not be able to function normally," said Sandy D. Kotiah, M.D., a hematological oncologist who is director of the Neuroendocrine Tumor Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Md.
 
About 22,350 Americans are diagnosed with multiple myeloma each year. This form of cancer begins in the bone marrow, where blood cells are manufactured. The disease affects plasma cells, which are part of the immune system. Multiple myeloma typically strikes people in their 60s and 70s, although it can occur at any age. It causes some 10,000 U.S. deaths annually.
 
"There is no cure for multiple myeloma, but thanks to an explosion of new treatments, the survival curve is shifting," said Dr. Kotiah. "People used to survive just a short time, but now we talk about survival in terms of years."
 
The standard treatment for multiple myeloma used to be chemotherapy, but patients are now treated by newer agents, such as lenalidomide (Revlimid), one in a class of medications called immunomodulatory drugs or IMiDs.
 
"These drugs affect proteins that turn off cancer cells," said Dr. Kotiah. "They aren’t toxic like chemotherapy. They don’t cause hair loss, they don’t cause nausea."
 
Editor’s Note: These 5 Things Activate Cancer In Your Body

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