Access and Health Equity
Living with a Rare Blood Cancer: Marion’s Story
Stories@Gilead - May 04, 2023 - 1 min read
Marion grew up very healthy, never even getting colds or the flu – but that changed as she got older.
In her late 50s, Marion’s doctor found a cancerous wart that required an intense six weeks of radiation therapy, coupled with chemotherapy. Then nearly five years later, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare form of blood cancer that often occurs in people previously treated with radiation or chemotherapy.
A stem cell transplant is usually key to surviving MDS, but due to Marion's age and chronic conditions, she wasn’t a good candidate for a transplant. Instead, her hematologist put her on a medication and she responded well.
Today Marion visits her doctor every four weeks for blood testing and has been treatment-free for more than 18 months.
"I don’t look back,” she says of her experience. “The disease does not define me. I am still me.”