For follicular lymphoma survivor, clinical trial and laughter are the best medicines

When it comes to facing cancer, follicular lymphoma survivor Michael Baker says laughter is the best medicine. Well, actually lenalidomide. And also rituximab. But laughter is right up there, too.   It worked for him and it’s the first thing he tells current patients when they ask for advice through myCancerConnection, MD Anderson’s one-on-one cancer support community for patients, caregivers and survivors. “Look at this disease right between the eyes and laugh at it,” Michael says. “Tell it, ‘Scary as you are, I’m stronger.’” A B-cell lymphoma diagnosis Michael was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin’s B-cell lymphoma, in 2009. He’s has been cancer-free for more than seven years. He first noticed a lump on his neck in the spring of 2009, but he ignored it for several months. When it began hurting while he was exercising that fall, he decided to see a doctor. He had the lump biopsied and was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma. Michael’s aunt told him he needed to go to MD Anderson, but it was almost a non-starter. “I live in DFW (Dallas-Forth Worth). If I have to drive to Houston once a week for chemo, I’m not doing it,” Michael recalls saying. But his aunt convinced him to make the trip, telling him about MD Anderson’s cutting-edge clinical trial offerings. Michael had initial lab work done at his first appointment and met with Nathan Fowler, M.D., who told him he was eligible for a clinical trial. The clinical trial tested the efficacy of lenalidomide in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Lenalidomide is already the first-line treatment for multiple myeloma, and has...