My son served in the Army in Somalia, and was diagnosed last week with CML. He is 38, the youngest person his oncologist has ever seen with CML. My MD friend who spent eight years as a blood chemistry researcher at the Medical University of SC recalls reading an article about the correlation between African viruses and CML (and she is trying to find that article or others in medical journals). The VA says my son's CML is not related to a "combat zone illness," but of course, they also denied that Agent Orange caused cancer. I'm wondering if anyone out there who has CML spent any time either in the military or for private industry or in the missionary field in Africa? Thanks, Y'all!
Anyone with CML ever been to Somalia or any part of Africa?
Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:55 PM
Your sons oncologist needs to get out more.
If you search this site you will find a guy trying to link military service to CML, he was pretty vocal a while ago, year maybe.
It just doesn't add up when you count the kids and the people never in the military. Not many people have CML, and statistically speaking, not many people have been in the military. So that's even less not many people that have both. And then figure out how many less people have both been to Africa in any capacity at all and have CML. Math can be fun!
Good luck to your son.
Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:06 PM
Thanks for your reply. The oncologist said she also had read something about CML and military service in Somalia, and she is also researching the material more thoroughly. I was (and still am) interseted in hearing from those who may have an Africa and CML connection. And when I spoke with my MD friend re Drew's CML, the first thing she said was, "Was he in Somalia?" She knew he had served in the military, but not exactly where. Somalia, Panama, Haiti; he "vacationed" in all the hotspots of that time.
Thanks again for your reply.
Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:19 PM
Sorry to hear for your son
I'm 22, diagnosed 1 year ago, was in Uganda this summer and in Madagascar 2 years ago. 38 y-o is not unusual for this leukemia.
CML usually happens by bad luck and is not apparently correlated to any virus, nor to Africa to my knowledge
I personnally think it just happened like this, like for most of us
But i'm sure he is gonna be ok it is very treatable these days
Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:01 PM
Thanks for your good wishes. I realize no link has yet been shown between CML and African viruses, but there are links to other types of illnesses caused by viruses from Africa and other "third world countries."
Perhaps there is no correlation, but my belief is that just because it hasn't been proven yet doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It took many years to prove the correlation between Agent Orange and cancer, and it was only because the public applied pressure that research was conducted and finally accepted as conclusive. I'm not much of a believer in luck, good or bad. Things happen for a reason, and perhaps the reason my son has developed CML is so I (and perhaps others) will pursue answers that don't involve luck of the draw. Maybe I'll get nowhere with my questions, but I'll never know until I try. And I'd rather be doing something constructive than just accepting "luck" as an answer. After all, how many years did it take to finally get the tobacco industry to admit publicly that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer? That admission would never have been made if not for the American public pressuring our government and the medical system for answers.
You can probably tell that my own physicians just "love" me--I never simply accept everything they say as the Gospel.
Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:30 PM
CML is a genetic misfire, in my opinion looking for a single smoking gun is not likely the answer. I believe there are multiple things that can cause CML, sometimes it just happens by chance. The body's cells divide continuously throughout life and millions of mistakes are made in the process. The body has mechanisms to catch these errors and dispose of them, but all it takes is one to slip by. So why does one slip by? Was it becuase we ate too many cheese burgers? Maybe but probably not. I happen to be a believer in the viral theory. From what I have read it seems it is very possible for a virus to be a contributing factor, but the question becomes why doesn't it happen to everyone exposed to the virus? There are multiple layers at work when a chromosome mutation gets through and I don't know if we will ever be able to say with certainty it was "this particular sequence of events that led to your cancer". Another thing to consider and I am not saying this because I think you should stop looking into it, I get why you are looking into it - as a parent, I get it. But even if you did figure out the cause it would not change the outcome. Could it potentially help someone else not get it? Maybe but I doubt it, because like I said, I am sure there were plenty of other people where your son was and I'm guessing almost all of them did not get CML. I believe it was a random event, just a lousy crap shoot. The good thing is that unlike some really nasty cancers and viral diseases, CML is well understood with very good treatment options that should result in your son being able to live his normal life span with a fairly normal life (whatever that is). By the way I was 37 when diagnosed 2 and a half years ago. Despite the doctor's limited exposure to younger patients, sadly what we see is that CML is not a "old man" disease. It is definitely a middle age disease and at times strikes in younger folks too.
Keep up the good fight, its great that you are involved for your son, that support will be very helpful to him.
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