Anaplastic thyroid cancer patient approaches each day as an adventure

59-year-old John Lange was focused on his work for a commercial airline and looking forward to a long, active retirement when, in December 2015, he came down with an upper respiratory infection and experienced swelling in his tonsils and lymph nodes. A month later, John’s infection was gone, but the swelling in his right lymph node had significantly worsened. He made an appointment with a general physician for the following month. His doctor immediately ordered an X-ray, which showed a large tumor on his thyroid that had spread to his neck and lungs. After a biopsy on March 8, 2016, John was diagnosed with metastatic anaplastic thyroid cancer, a rare and aggressive form of the disease.  “My local oncologist said there was no known positive outcome for anaplastic thyroid cancer, and suggested I make immediate arrangements for my affairs,” John says. “But I wanted to see what God had to say about it.” He decided to approach his diagnosis as an adventure, focusing on quality of life over quantity of years. Treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer John’s oncologist recommended that he travel from his home in San Antonio, Texas, to MD Anderson because “they are doing research that isn’t published yet that might benefit you significantly.” He had an appointment with Maria Cabanillas, M.D., within a week. “It’s an incredibly comforting feeling to know that your care is their primary concern,” John says of MD Anderson. “I found that to be very humbling. Everyone I’ve encountered has been incredibly supportive.” Since John’s tumor was so large that it affected his breathing, doctors recommended a procedure called a tracheostomy to...