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Cancer Specialist Outlines Challenges Ahead For Menino

By Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) — Former mayor Tom Menino was back at work Monday, at Boston University. Over the weekend we learned Menino, 71, is battling an advanced form of cancer.

“I would say at this point it is less than 5-percent, it was little bit more common 5-to-10 years ago,” said Dr. David Ryan, a cancer specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Share: Your Thoughts As Menino Battles Cancer

Ryan is talking about, in general terms, the type of cancer which former Mayor Menino is fighting.

In Menino’s case doctors don’t know where it started.

“It doesn’t make it more difficult for surgery or radiation but it does make it more difficult for chemotherapy because you have to pick the regiment that you think will work the best in a particular patient’s situation,” he said.

Menino’s cancer was discovered in early February while doctors were examining his back because of chronic weakness in his legs. The advanced form of cancer has spread to his liver and lymph nodes.

“I am dealing with it. I have great doctors and I am quite confident I can beat this,” Menino said.

Menino is undergoing chemotherapy at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Ryan says that is the best approach.

“We usually embark in a six month course of treatment, if all goes well and then go from there.”

Menino says he is getting all kinds of support from the community.

“Secretary of State John Kerry called me. John Henry called me. And the guy who is the cleaning man down the street from me called me. I am getting all kinds of support.”

Ryan says every patient is different.

“People can be as active as you or I. We have plenty of patients with these types of cancers who work and function normally and do quite well.”

Menino’s cancer is apparently unrelated to his two previous bouts with the disease – a lesion between his shoulder blades in 2003, and skin cancer two years ago. He says he has not felt any pain.

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