NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – September is blood cancer awareness month.
Lymphoma is the most common form of blood cancer in adults and one man who is a survivor – in every sense of the word – is now sharing his story of hope.READ MORE: Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Children At Bronx Day Care Since 2018 Arrested
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports, Ethan Zohn won the CBS show “Survivor: Africa” in the early 2000s. He was 35 and living in Chelsea when he learned he had lymphoma.
“I went through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, 22 blasts of radiation. I ended up having to get an autologous stem cell transplant. And that’s the stem cell transplant where you’re using your body’s own stem cells. And this was really great because the doctors thought they got the disease under control, but they didn’t. The cancer returned just 20 months later,” Zohn said.
He went through the same treatment, but a new therapy drug and a second stem cell transplant is what he credits for now being in remission for nine years.READ MORE: Overnight Gun Violence: 3 Men Shot In Queens, Innocent Woman Shot In Brooklyn, NYPD Says
“I remember dreaming and praying that I’d be alive long enough to play ‘Survivor’ again,” he said.
Zohn returned to compete in “Survivor: Winners At War” in 2019.
“Immunotherapies are an emerging new option to treat lymphoma. These are therapies where the body’s own immune system is harnessed to fight their cancer,” said Meghan Gutierrez, CEO of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.MORE NEWS: NYPD: Suspect In Custody For Possible DWI After Injuring Officer At Traffic Checkpoint In Lower Manhattan
Sometimes, evidence of the cancer can be detected in one’s blood work. Doctors say most blood cancers occur by chance, but it’s important to let your doctor know of family history as well.