DHK - Devon Whitbeck, 25, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Cobleskill, NY, with Dr. Glenn Hanna, head and neck oncology, Dana-Farber 8-15-17

Devon is an outdoorsman who noticed a lump on his neck mid-winter. He thought that his lymph nodes were swollen due to illness. AWhen the inflammation did not go away, he went to have it evaluated by the doctor.  A biopsy was taken, and after many tests, it was eventually determined that he had nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a rare cancer, so his local cancer center in upstate New York did not have much experience with it. He opted for a second opinion in Boston, and began treatment at Dana-Farber a week later. He was in-patient from late April-early July receiving 4½  days of straight chemotherapy at a time. He is now in daily radiation until the end of August. Devon is seeing promising results, as the lymph node inflammation has shrunk and Dr. Hanna is optimistic that this will continue with his treatment. Devon is the youngest of 4, he has 2 brothers and a half-sister. Devon is a big soccer player and grew up playing the sport. He went to college at the University of Maine-Machias, where he discovered a deep and true passion for the outdoors. He now works as a ski patroller in Vermont in the winter and works at Acadia National Park in the summer. He has moved to Boston to complete treatment, and says he is relieved he made the decision to get care at Dana-Farber. His future goals include being declared cancer-free and finding a way to use his degree and passion for the outdoors to get a job that provides health insurance. He has been covered by his mom’s insurance but will turn 26 this fall. He looks forward to going back to the outdoors, being active, and having peace of mind.

Dr. Hanna completed his residency training in internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and fellowship training in hematology & medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2016. Prior to this, he earned his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2010, where he graduated summa cum laude, a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and the Kober Medalist for academic excellence. He says that Devon is a courageous and mature young adult battling a relatively uncommon head and neck cancer. Dr. Hanna admires his indomitable spirit, strength and determination throughout this difficult journey. Devon reminds him every visit what is most rewarding about having chosen a career in cancer medicine.


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Our next guest settles into the chair and DeVon if you live anywhere near the energy that Parker left without really impressed and a I Devin whitbeck is when us from couples still New York a doctor Glen Hanna is here as well head and neck oncology at Dana Farber. DeVon is 25 not force them to be a little easier for Austin to control perhaps maybe in the navy. Tell us about your about your story I know you're an avid outdoorsman what did you find out that you had an issue. And at a school in. Exactly lives. I really encouraged by this news get checked out. And that's a tall and bulletproof yeah exactly yeah this is it really push it to get it checked when I got it checks. That doctors seem pretty confident that. It is lymphoma where. Some sort cancer but it came back negative moments ago. That's retirement. Things started to become a little on wary of where my direction is headed for the summer. And this is before I met doctor and a so. From there he can as to basically said you probably end up at Dana Farber Horry Sloan Kettering one of those higher cancer institute's. So for a month and a half or so I didn't really know what type of cancer had what my treatment chances where where I was going and everything. So now a days before my treatment was about to start and Cooperstown New York. IA was they are urged to get a second opinion so we went to Dana Farber has no more people that Mark Austin. From there. And this guy and he pretty much just said regulates you let's start let's go. Let's get it done. In line in it in the hospital that day. So at that didn't. I went home but it kind of thought about it but I did agree to come here the Dana Farber. I can't tell stories threats where I started. Coming to Boston. I'm but I update us with nasal Bengie called carcinoma and it's a little bit of time mr. And it's a fairly uncommon. Cancer and the United States more common in China very. And so although odds are actually really good for the same cancer and me 80%. It's it's fairly get an income and certainly DeVon is undergoing. Very intense treatment with the goal of care. So as you said you know he's a fragile carcinoma is endemic to certain portions of northern Africa and southeast Asia China Hong Kong so they see it much more frequently. But we DC in North America said much smaller rates are lower rates should say. Which is you know when someone was meeting Devin for the first time it would not attend the first name across their minds if they hadn't had experience that counts as so. But we're really. I was just as glad to meet him on that day because when someone like that comes in your office you sort of know that. This is something you take care this is something that sort of fits within your expertise and you know I just keep its very mature and very. Just. You very much search element and really knew that at the severity of the diagnosis for his age was very impressive. And we knew we needed to get going with treatment and apps though. Definitely tell people about your little bit first all of you know I know you're main guy at college in Maine and you're sitting across from the ambassador. Here. Dale Arnold so I had never been to the main diner. That means I have not been the main gotten to wells instantly in the but I have relatives from the giants a hole I guess yes I even a word is yes it does Dale Arnold thought that. Dell part of on the menu at the main diner and I do and ask you and yours a big soccer fans and soccer player. The United States. Where in the World Cup effort and if so win. I would like to say thanks so that's ago. And I know the polite. Like I'd like to sit sometimes and they're seven years I don't know were that close I think there's a big. You know pull for soccer and I think it's a popular. Kids play. To Steve Austria stars for hours. Ago. We need to play soccer. Matches like I. Basically the weeks. Now been this. Occur where people from outside of Boston in the coming to Boston particularly when it's a rare type of canceling ray I think I think that tends to be. That's. At least small to moderate portion of our patients particularly I would consider my disease area or disease specialty somewhat rare. You know head neck cancers in general are sort of the sixth most common group of cancers worldwide but less than incidents in the United States. I'm although we are seeing some increases and things like virus associated cancers that had an act like HPV virus associated oral francs cancers man. So I'd say that you know there's a fair population that we see there are patients who come with some rare tumors like bees knees of drinks tumors or things like salad very humorous. And I would say they were sort of a hub for the New England area although we have patients who come from the south all of you know across coast. Especially if they wanna participate in particular trial because of a specific alteration reputation and their cancer. So it's not uncommon at say then my panel has a fair number. It decent referral from New England base. Were always happy to serve one thing minute I'd always been sort of impressed by it's the infrastructure we have to help patients make it here. On you that's when really special thing about the Farber is we have some new resource specialists nurses social workers and our entire team really sort of works together to get people like to have and I'm into our institution and make sure that here is that first priority treatment and cures the first priority for him. DeVon went back. Doctor plan Hanna thank you guys both for and in here it's not appreciate you will see if I was gonna ask how often you've seen these cases but then I thought no he's gonna think I'm questioning its credentials that I couldn't pass up Boeing unity that's great to see both of you thank you think.