When the Lung Cancer Patient Climbs Mountains

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When the Lung Cancer Patient Climbs Mountains
He gave his blessing but acknowledged: “If you polled physicians you might have gotten a lot of different advice.”
Another of Andy’s doctors, Dr. Zofia Piotrowska, a medical oncologist at Massachusetts General,
said her team wanted to help him go where he wanted to go, knowing the trip’s meaning to him.
Dr. Neilan, a climber himself, said he found no data around altitude sickness — the most dangerous
and common health risk for climbing in high mountains — and Andy’s conditions.
Dr. Tomas Neilan, the director of the cardio-oncology program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston,
and part of Andy’s medical team, said the recent success of these gene therapy treatments alters the way specialists like him view and treat advanced cancer patients.
Dr. Piotrowska focuses on the type of lung cancer Andy has, which has a mutation in the gene called epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR.
Dr. Piotrowska said that before clearing him for the climb, she thought his lung function was pretty close to normal.
There was no data on what the high altitude would do to an advanced lung cancer patient: None were found to have tried.
“My colleagues are flabbergasted.”
He gave Andy the O. K.
to go to Nepal not as a dying man attempting his last climb
but as a person with a deep experience in the mountains who exhibited solid cardiovascular function and health.


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