Rick Field

Rick Field
Can you imagine being diagnosed with cancer and told you might not see your son graduate from high school?
In 2000, this was my reality when I was diagnosed with CML, chronic myelogenous leukemia. At the time, the standard treatment for my disease was a drug called Interferon mixed with Cytarabine. A true drug cocktail!
I don’t like thinking back to that time. The drugs could only be taken through a needle, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Three hours after an injection, I was so ill so quickly that I didn’t have enough time to get to the bathroom. I took up the habit of just laying down in the bathroom with my pillow after I took an injection.
As bad as the side effects were, the drugs kept my disease under control for a while. But in 2002 that changed – the disease was gaining ground, and there were no other approved treatments available. My doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Lipton, made the decision to cross me over to Gleevec, a new drug that was being tested in a clinical trial, and could be taken in pill form. It turned out to be a wonder drug for me. I responded well to it and am living a normal life today as a result.
Sadly, not all of the people that began the clinical trial with me at The Princess Margaret are alive today. This just goes to show that each person’s cancer is different and each person responds differently to new drug treatments. That’s why more new treatments need to be discovered and put through the clinical trial process.

I am a big believer that fighting cancer requires physical stamina and strength. I work hard at maintaining a high level of physical fitness—cycling, weight lifting and yoga on a regular basis. Most people are surprised when they find out that I just celebrated my 60th birthday! I’m working hard to enjoy each day and to stay in fighting shape.

The statistics associated with cancer often seem grim, but I’m here today because of a new cancer treatment that was being tested at The Princess Margaret. This is the direct benefit of having access to one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world.
Revised: October 2013