‘As aggressive as cancer is you’ve got to hit back just as aggressively,” said Carl Bittner whose melanoma came back again, and again – and again, over the past 21 years. Learn more about supporting research at CancerCare Manitoba like the clinical trials that saved Carl’s life.
Thanks to donors’ investments in cancer research, Carl is still with us today – and he is thriving.In 2000 Carl was diagnosed with Melanoma, an aggressive form of cancer responsible for 80% of skin cancer-related deaths. Despite being told he had a 10% chance of survival, Carl never lost hope. Carl’s 21-year journey with melanoma has had many highs and lows. Since his initial poor prognosis and with limited treatment options back in 2000, Carl has endured multiple operations, radiation, and radical treatments. At one point Carl’s T cells were removed from his body, genetically enhanced, and then reintroduced to boost his immune system, a process Carl admits was “brutal” though his body cooperated and responded very well. Treatments didn’t always keep working however; at one point Carl’s heart monitor registered an arrhythmia and treatment had to be stopped immediately. Just when there seemed to be no more options, donor-funded clinical research and clinical trials blew open the world of immunotherapy and gave renewed hope to stage IV cancer patients like Carl.