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Patient with myelofibrosis in July ready to climb Mont Blanc

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The challenges of patients with chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms this year exceed more than 4 thousand meters. Thanks to Francesca Masi, patient with myelofibrosis, Tuscan psychologist and trekking enthusiast who in July, 2 years after a bone marrow transplant, will try to climb over 4 thousand meters of Mont Blanc. Her enterprise, after the treatments and the transplant, will be told in the Facebook column “Fino in top” and her challenge will become that of the whole patient community. “At 40, I discovered I had myelofibrosis and dealing with it was not easy. Many sick people, like me, climb mountains of difficulty to overcome illnesses. Now I’m fine and in July I will try to climb a real one, the most demanding of all, to celebrate the will to live. By my side I will have my husband, a photographer and a mountain guide “. Thus Francesca, speaking this morning at the event “Living, dreaming, climbing: returning to life beyond rare blood cancers”, presentation webinar of ‘Mielo-Spieghi 2022’, the information campaign on chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms promoted by Novartis in collaboration with Aipamm and with the patronage of Ail and the MPN Advocates Network “I have always been a mountain enthusiast – remembers the woman – so when I received the diagnosis of myelofibrosis, the news of not being able to go to the mountains came like a knife . Over time, fortunately, this ‘not being able to anymore’ has turned into ‘sooner or later it will be possible’. This means only one thing: the goals for us patients should not be abandoned but suspended. So returning to the mountains was also a help for me because post-transplant recovery is very long and having a goal and reaching it allows you to find strength. They are proof that people are often cured of MPNs. I had a severe form of myelofibrosis, I was very young for the average patient, and I arrived at the transplant in really critical conditions. I can testify that you can feel better ”. For some time Masi had been planning to climb Mont Blanc, “when I was better – she says – thanks to the advice of my haematologist, Alessandro Maria Vannucchi, I went back. Now, after having recovered from a physical point of view and reaching the performance of a healthy person, I can train to climb a peak of 4,800 meters never before reached by me. I am very excited, I must say thanks to the doctors who treated me, to the research and to the donors of blood, marrow and umbilical cord because without human material the doctors could not save lives as they did with me. Furthermore, I want to say thanks to the community like that of ‘Mielo Spieghi’ which helps us patients so much, it is thanks to this tool that you feel you can give hope to others and at the same time receive gratification and recognition ”. For years, Alessandro Maria Vannucchi, full professor of Hematology at the University of Florence and director of Sod Hematology Aou Careggi, has been alongside Francesca Masi: “The determination with which Francesca faced the disease and the conviction to follow all the therapies up to transplantation are exemplary – explains the hematologist who attended the presentation of ‘Mielo-Spieghi 2022’ -. Francesca is an example of how medicine can change quite quickly thanks to the target drugs that affect the genetic alterations at the base of MPN. Today we have some therapies that do not allow the disease to heal, for this reason stem cell transplantation can be used, but certainly to control the rare blood cancer very well and, consequently, improve the quality of life of the person who is affected, leading her to a lifestyle very close, in most cases, to what she had before the disease “, Vannucchi has no doubts about the patient-haematologist relationship:” This is an alliance that lasts for years, in which it is important that the doctor is very clear from the beginning about the disease and the possible evolutions but the same must be the patient in asking all the questions and following the therapies correctly, without ever suspending them ”he concludes.

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