Tom Brokaw, one of the most instantly recognizable and reassuring faces in television news, revealed earlier this month that he has been secretly battling myeloma since August at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. — the same internationally renowned medical center where many go for treatment of mesothelioma.
A statement issued by NBC indicated that Mayo Clinic specialists believe Brokaw, 74, is making encouraging headway in this fight.
“I am very optimistic about the future,” Brokaw said in the written NBC statement. “I remain the luckiest guy I know.”
Mesothelioma, Myeloma Compared
Myeloma, like mesothelioma, can only be slowed not stopped. However, as with mesothelioma, myeloma victims can considerably extend their survival by attacking the cancer early with the right therapies, experts indicate.
Chemotherapy is a first-line defense against myeloma (frequently true for mesothelioma as well). Myeloma patients who tolerate chemotherapy may become candidates for a bone-marrow transplant.
Mesothelioma begins on the tissue linings of the lungs, abdomen or heart. By contrast, myeloma is a blood cancer that affects bone marrow, experts say.
As myeloma spreads, it breaks down the bone marrow and disrupts the body’s ability to make new blood cells.
Worse, myeloma cells find their way into the kidneys and trigger production of a gooey material that gradually causes kidney failure.
Both mesothelioma and myeloma afflict men far more often than women — and usually during the retirement years, the American Cancer Society reports. The two cancers are relatively rare, although new myeloma cases in the U.S. are annually about seven times more numerous than those involving mesothelioma.
Why Mesothelioma Patients, Others Choose Mayo Clinic
Brokaw, in the statement issued by NBC, thanked his Mayo Clinic doctors for what he described as “exceptional support.”
As MesotheliomaClinic.org has learned, Mayo Clinic is a leading choice for cancer patients of all types because of the legendary medical center’s widely acclaimed oncology program.
Founded in 1863, Mayo Clinic is today America’s No. 3-ranked best cancer hospital, according to an annual survey conducted by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Many asbestos-exposure victims prefer 1,132-bed Mayo Clinic for not just mesothelioma treatment, but also for intervention against asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer.
Treatments offered at Mayo Clinic often prove effective because they are tailored to the individual patient based on his or her unique genetic profile.
Genetics figure large in Mayo Clinic’s cancer research. This owes to the fact that the medical center has invested heavily in molecular-based science. Currently, most of Mayo Clinic’s 4,100 clinicians and researchers are engaged in investigations geared to helping the human body replace, rejuvenate and regenerate cells, tissues and organs damaged by cancer and other forms of disease.
Brokaw Cancer Fight a Source of Inspiration
In its prepared statement, NBC said that Brokaw is well enough to continue working on an array of NBC News projects, including appearances on “The Today Show,” “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” and “Meet the Press.”
Brokaw started with NBC News in 1966 as a reporter and late-night anchor at the network-owned station in Los Angeles.
In 1973, NBC moved Brokaw to Washington and assigned him to cover the White House during the effort to impeach then-President Richard M. Nixon. Brokaw also anchored NBC’s “Nightly News” every Saturday. In 1976, the South Dakota native began hosting “The Today Show.”
Brokaw remained at “Today” until 1982. At that time, he was made co-anchor of the Monday through Friday editions of “Nightly News.” One year later, Brokaw became sole anchor.
He surrendered the anchor’s chair in late 2004 to NBC up-and-comer Brian Williams. But Brokaw soon after began turning up as a special correspondent on a variety of NBC News programs to offer his trademark brand of incisive reporting and commentary.
After Brokaw’s cancer fight was announced, observers lauded him for having the courage to divulge his condition, for waging this gritty battle in a cool and collected way, and for inspiring other cancer victims to not give up.