Father Battles Rare Cancer
- Anthony Di Laura was diagnosed with stage four Pseudomyxoma Peritonei while his wife was pregnant.
- Pseudomyxoma Peritonei is a rare disease characterized by the presence of mucin (a type of protein) in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity.
- The most common cause of PMP is appendix cancer but several types of tumors (including non-cancerous tumors) can cause PMP as well.
Di Laura and his wife, Jackie Cucullo-Di Laura, considered having Di Laura freeze his sperm prior to undergoing chemotherapy to treat his cancer, but they decided against it.Read More
However, the pair was able to conceive another baby while Di Laura was undergoing treatment. He had radical surgery and chemotherapy. The surgery was to target the tumor that developed in his appendix and metastasized to his abdomen.
Pseudomyxoma Peritonei & How to Find Help After a Rare Cancer Diagnosis
Tens of thousands of people, like Anthony Di Laura, are diagnosed with rare types of cancer every year. And people facing an uncommon diagnosis may find it difficult to find someone who specializes in their illness. Here’s what our SurvivorNet experts say about ways that patients can find helpful resources and get the help they need.
SurvivorNet’s Clinical Trial Finder is a great way to connect with privately and publicly funded clinical trials conducted around the world. It can be a particularly useful resource for cancer patients with rare conditions as a tool for finding doctors who are experts on their diseases. Often, the most specialized doctors in a specific field end up leading clinical trials that push our understanding of diseases forward.
Pseudomyxoma Peritonei is a rare disease characterized by the presence of mucin (a type of protein) in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. The most common cause of PMP is appendix cancer but several types of tumors (including non-cancerous tumors) can cause PMP as well.
Fertility & Cancer
Many people diagnosed with cancers that affect reproductive parts may choose to freeze their sperm or their eggs (for people battling ovarian, cervical, and other cancers) as a way to preserve their fertility prior to cancer treatment. Di Laura and his partner considered this as an option, due to the effect chemotherapy would have on his body.
Some cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, can damage fertility, so it’s a preventative measure for people who may want to have children.
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Jaime Knopman, a reproductive endocrinologist at CCRM NY, said that time is of the essence when it comes to fertility conversations with your doctor.
“The sooner we start, the sooner that patient can then go on and do their treatment,” she said. “… Success comes down to how old you are at the time you froze and the quality of the lab in which your eggs or embryos are frozen in.”
If you’re having a treatment that includes infertility as a possible side effect, your doctor won’t be able to tell you for sure whether you will have this side effect. That’s why you should discuss your options for fertility preservation before starting treatment.
Contributing: Abigail Seaberg