Anthony “Tony” Espinoza knows he’s an adored big brother to his three younger siblings — not to mention a sharp dresser.
But the charming 6-year-old seems blissfully unaware that he has benefited from the knowledge of retinoblastoma experts in M. D. Anderson’s departments of Pediatrics and Head and Neck Surgery and the new Retinoblastoma Center of Houston.
His mother, Adalinda Gomez, remembers her reaction to Tony’s diagnosis in 2007 with this rare cancer of the eye.
“I took it harder than he did,” she says. “I asked the doctors if they could remove my retina and give it to him.”
Because effective treatment required the removal of his right eye, Tony wears a prosthetic version. Although the disease has changed his and his family’s lives forever, he has the advantage of several experts available to design his therapy.
Challenges become opportunities
At M. D. Anderson, the challenges of 2008-2009 have been transformed into opportunities: an opportunity to serve more patients, an opportunity for our doctors and nurses to think innovatively in the treatment of patients, and an opportunity to reach out to a broader community.
Included here are just a few innovations and discoveries in patient care, from the collaborative Retinoblastoma Center for children with eye cancer to the discovery that older age doesn’t prevent the possibility of a blood stem cell transplant.
M. D. Anderson also has moved further down the road on the electronic medical record, which allows patients and their community physicians access to information on diagnoses and treatments.