Better science means better outcomes for many cancer patients

As the owner of an auto dealership, Ralph Ghioto's life has been on full speed.

But after experiencing a shortness of breath ten years ago, Ralph went to see a doctor and went through a pre-op for heart stents.

That's when they discovered he was in the early stages of chronic myelogenous leukemia. Ralph and Dr. Christopher George of Florida Cancer Specialists decided to go with a treatment outside of chemotherapy. "He was very encouraging and put me on a brand new drug that was supposed to be a miracle drug called Gleevec," Ralph said.

George said it has resulted in a remarkable change for the disease.

"Individuals are no longer progressing at five years but are now remaining in remissions greater than 10 years," George said.

Ralph takes a pill every day and said he's avoided the side effects associated with chemo.

"It has no residual like losing your hair, things like that," Ralph said. George said medical advances in treating cancer, Gleevec, are giving patients new hope and in many cases a better outcome.

"Over the last several decades the science has allowed us to really begin to understand these cancers and really develop thoughtful and effective approaches for them. So the science is the engine that has changed the treatment of cancer," George said.

Ten years later Ralph is in remission. He's grateful for the timing of the diagnosis.

"If it were 10 years earlier, they would not have had Gleevec, because Gleevec was not perfected. So I hate to think about what would have happened if I had not got it when I got it," Ralph said.

For more information on Florida Cancer Specialists, click here .

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