Alan Hans — “I haven’t been sick a single day”
Alan Hans doesn’t mind the 130-mile drive he makes every other week or so from Gerber to the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center for chemotherapy treatments.
“I know the doctors down there, and I think UC Davis is the most wonderful organization,” says the 58-year-old. “It doesn’t matter where I go in the hospital or who I talk to—from the receptionist to the nurses’ aides. You go down there, and everybody is just wonderful.”
Hans is being treated for advanced bladder cancer by oncologist Chong-Xian Pan, and is enrolled in a clinical trial for bladder cancer patients to see if a new drug is effective in stopping spread of the disease outside the bladder. He joined the trial after he failed to respond to the first-line standard chemotherapy combination. The trial involves treatment with a combination of a chemotherapy drug with a human antibody.
Pan explained that the chemotherapy inhibits cancer cells from dividing and making new cancer cells. The antibody prevents the binding of a growth factor to its receptor, and therefore, inhibits the formation of new blood vessels at the tumor sites.
“The cancer had metastasized to my femur,” Hans explained. “They gave me the clinical trial drug, which cuts off the blood supply to the tumor. They did a PET scan and apparently it worked.”
“I haven’t been sick a single day. I get up in the morning and go to work. I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t gone on a clinical trial.”
Alan Hans, Gerber, Calif.
Pan is happy to report that his patient is thriving. “He has been in complete remission with very few side effects,” he said. “He has been doing very well.”
The treatment itself, Hans said, has been easy. “I have no problems. The chemo drugs they gave me – I don’t even get sick from them. I haven’t been sick a single day.”
It’s a good thing, too, because Hans is a busy man. He works as an accountant, manages several rental properties and has his own farm, where he plants and harvests grain.
“I get up in the morning and go to work,” he said. “I am not lying around watching TV all day.”
Hans looks at clinical trial participation with the same no-nonsense approach he has in all other things in life. “For me, it was either go on the trial or die. That was the choice.”
He softens some when considering the next generation.