Karen has Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), a cancer that originated in a salivary gland. According to Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), has no known causes or links to smoking and alcohol consumption. The disease is slightly more prevalent in women than men. Standard treatment for ACC involves surgery followed by radiation. Currently, there are no drug therapies that have been proven to be effective in a large portion of ACC patients.
When we asked Karen if she met other ACC patients while at M.D. Anderson she replied:
We did not. ACC is a very rare cancer. When we researched online we learned that most oncologists will never encounter an ACC patient in their entire careers. Most of the rest will encounter it only once and almost never will you find an oncologist who has encountered it twice.
When we arrived at M.D. Anderson, we learned there is only one radiologist who does proton radiation (the one reason we chose to travel to MDA in Houston, Texas). On our first meeting, we asked the oncologist if he had ever encountered ACC. He said that not only had he encountered it, but he was getting ready to publish a paper on his treatment for ACC.
We recognized this as a God-thing.