CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Canton Township man with stage-four cancer is determined to find a way through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Cancer patients found themselves in a difficult situation when the coronavirus effectively eliminated certain treatment options. As the virus spread, some cancer centers stopped enrolling patients in clinical trials, which was a crushing blow for people hoping to try experimental therapies to extend their lives.
But Jingsong Mo, 50, of Canton Township, wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Mo has stage-four pancreatic cancer.
“I was pretty devastated, to be honest, because here I was out of chemo and there is no other treatment available,” Mo said.
Standard treatments worked well for two years, but the cancer came back just as the coronavirus started to spread.
“He, unfortunately, was faced with two institutions where he had been getting his care that had closed their facilities to new enrollment into clinical trials,” said Dr. Dale Shepherd, a Cleveland Clinic oncologist.
Mo searched for a clinical trial still accepting patients despite COVID-19, and he found one two-and-a-half hours away at the Cleveland Clinic.
“I was looking for anything that could hep me, and for a patient like my situation, all I can ask for, all I can pray for, is a little bit of hope,” Mo said.
Every week, Mo travels from his home to Cleveland for an experimental immunotherapy infusion.
It’ll be a few weeks before doctors know if the therapy is working, but the chance to keep fighting keeps Mo going.
“In this case, having the opportunity to try it, to me, was pretty uplifting,” Mo said.
Shepherd encouraged people with advanced cancers to be persistent when seeking treatment options, regardless of COVID-19. He said hopefully, many of those clinical trials will reopen soon.
The state of affairs for people who have had their treatments or surgeries delayed varies by hospital. More and more surgeries are being done, but there is quite a backlog. You should call your doctor, and if anything has changed, make sure they are aware. Things that might not have been considered urgent two months ago might be urgent now.