A 74-year-old member was diagnosed in 2004 with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (WM) – a rare type of cancer that begins in the white blood cells. Since that time, he has not required treatment and has continued his daily activities with his quality of life unaffected. More recently, the member was found to have swollen lymph nodes and after having a bone marrow biopsy, his treating physician recommended two possible treatments: an intravenous drug or oral medication.
The specialist reviewed the member’s medical records and educated him on specific criteria that would dictate treatment for the disease. The specialist explained since the member did not meet these criteria, he might discuss with his local provider monitoring every 3 months with a physical examination, blood counts and antibody measurements. The specialist also advised there is no need to perform serial CT scans for surveillance to minimize unnecessary exposure to radiation.
Upon follow up, the member expressed appreciation for the opportunity to consult with an extraordinary specialist in the field. He decided not to start the costly treatments any time soon, but to proceed with monitoring by his local hematologist as suggested by the 2nd.MD specialist.