Controversial Book About Extreme and Unusual Illness Provokes Debate Among Doctors and Stem Cell Transplant Advocates

Brad Buchanan, PhD, answers questions about his decision to publish a taboo-breaking medical memoir, and asks questions to a team of eminent medical experts.

SACRAMENTO, CA, US, July 6, 2021 / — This Zoom event, recorded on June 24 2021, features a frank, groundbreaking, and wide-ranging discussion of the pros and cons of publishing LIVING WITH GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST DISEASE: HOW I STOPPED FIGHTING CANCER AND STARTED HEALING, a personal narrative describing an extreme and nearly fatal case of acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), the consequence of the author’s life-saving stem cell transplant in 2016. Jackie Foster of Be The Match® interviews author Brad Buchanan, PhD, about his motives in writing and publishing such a harrowing first-person account of his near-death experience with GvHD. Buchanan explains his deep personal commitment to writing, which enabled him to withstand and survive two encounters with apparently terminal blood cancer. Buchanan then asks experts Dr. Joseph Tuscano of UC Davis’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and Dr. Emily Hopewell of Indiana University to address the risks of breaking the long-standing taboo against emphasizing the potential dangers of GvHD when patients are contemplating a life-saving transplant. A spirited discussion follows, in which Dr. Tuscano and Dr. Hopewell both praise Buchanan’s unflinching honesty and powerful narration, and offer hope for new treatments for GvHD.

More about the book:
LIVING WITH GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST-DISEASE: HOW I STOPPED FIGHTING CANCER AND STARTED HEALING tells the story of the author’s survival against the odds, outlines his often rocky path to long-term recovery, and offers unique and important insights into acute and chronic GvHD. Using poetry as a touchstone, it draws on the author’s own experiences as a two-time blood cancer survivor and stem-cell transplant recipient to encourage GvHD patients to move beyond the “warrior” mentality promoted by much of the current cultural discourse surrounding disease, treatment, and survivorship. It also advocates a full understanding of the current best practices in the treatment of GvHD, an attitude of acceptance and emotional openness, and the practice of writing as a self-healing activity.

Authorities in the field praise the book:
Brad Buchanan has produced a detailed narration of his personal battle with lymphoma and ultimately graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). He takes a no-holds-barred approach that leaves little to the imagination. His command of the language and mix of prose and poetry bring to life the good, the bad and the terrifying components of his journey with a rare and particularly intense form of GvHD.
—Joseph M. Tuscano, MD, Interim Director of Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplantation and deLeuze Endowed Professor of Medicine, UC Davis Cancer Center
While recovery from transplant is unique for everyone, first-hand experiences help to tear down the walls of isolation. We are incredibly grateful to people like Dr. Buchanan who share their personal story. His is both profound and relatable; written with humor, honesty and hope.
—Be The Match®
Dr. Buchanan provides a frank and engaging account of his personal journey through blood cancer treatment and the repercussions of living with graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) as a result of that treatment. He unmasks both the physical and mental impact of GvHD on himself and his caregivers and provides a reminder that becoming cancer free is not always the end of the pilgrimage.
—Emily Hopewell, PhD, Director of Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University
Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) remains a significant cause of morbidity and non-relapse mortality for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT). This book tells a story of courage and overcoming the formidable challenges of acute and chronic GvHD. It will help physicians, nurses, and scientists genuinely understand the story of patients’ difficulties living with GvHD. As a scientist working on uncoupling GvHD from GVL (graft-versus-leukemia), I encourage every citizen to read this book, which ought to convince our politicians and policymakers to support more research into GvHD.
—Dr. Mobin Karimi, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University

A native of Canada, Brad Buchanan holds degrees in English Literature from McGill University (BA, 1994), the University of Toronto (MA, 1995), and Stanford University (PhD, 2001). He is the author of five previous books.

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