Former governor Kathleen Blanco asks for prayers as cancer progn - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Former governor Kathleen Blanco asks for prayers as cancer prognosis worsens

FOX 8 photo FOX 8 photo
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

A plea for prayers from former Governor Kathleen Blanco who reveals that she's fighting a rare form of cancer.

In a letter addressed to the citizens of Louisiana, she revealed her biggest battle, yet-- ocular melanoma that has invaded her liver.

Blanco first served the state in 1984 when she was elected to the state house. She became Louisiana's first female governor in 2003. Hurricane Katrina made landfall a year and a half later. 

Blanco first announced her battle with cancer in 2011 when she was diagnosed.

FOX 8 News spoke to a specialist who explains what makes Blanco's diagnosis so challenging for doctors.

"Unfortunately, this has a very poor prognosis overall," said Dr. Adam Riker, Chief of Surgical Oncology with LSU Health New Orleans.

Oncologists say, it's not the kind of cancer you're familiar with that's related to sun exposure. 

Its aggressive and rare.

"It's very uncommon. There's only about 2,000 to 2,500 cases of ocular melanoma in the United States per year," Dr. Riker explained.

While Blanco writes her doctors were successful in saving her sight, she admits she knew there was a possibility her cancer would spread. 

In fact, Dr. Riker says the odds were against her. 

"In over 50-percent of the cases it tends to, for whatever reason, go directly to the liver and that's the organ where it likes to metastasize," said Dr. Riker.

Now, Dr. Riker says doctors' greatest challenge will be figuring out how to effectively treat Blanco. He says one option with proven success is immunotherapy, in which patients take medicine to activate their own immune systems. In some instances, Dr. Riker says patients have become complete responders.

"That means all of their metastatic disease goes away and it doesn't come back," he said.

Yet, there's a problem.

"There are so few cases, we don't really know how effective immunotherapy is going to be for ocular melanoma," Dr. Riker said.

Blanco knows it, too. In her editorial she wrote:

"I've begun a treatment program that hopefully, over time, will quell these cancer demons. No treatment has yet been identified to cure this type of melanoma, so a variety of treatments will likely be necessary over time."

Blanco then asks Louisianians to pray for her and others fighting for their lives.

She counts her blessings and recounts her service to the state, thanking citizens for their support and resiliency through the years.

Blanco finishes the letter with a prayer for peace and her gratitude for the opportunity to lead.

"I hope I can survive and thrive as you have done."

Blanca move back to her hometown of Lafayette after leaving office. 

According to FOX8's sister station in Baton Rouge, WAFB, a representative for Blanco says neither she nor her family will be doing interviews at this time.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Shrimp and Jazz Fest is Saturday June 23rd

    Shrimp and Jazz Fest is Saturday June 23rd

    Shrimp and Jazz Fest is Saturday June 23rd

    Friday, June 22 2018 10:45 PM EDT2018-06-23 02:45:05 GMT
    image courtesy of thechangetrend.comimage courtesy of thechangetrend.com
    image courtesy of thechangetrend.comimage courtesy of thechangetrend.com
    Jazz music has been a staple of Louisiana's culture for many years, and you can help celebrate it this weekend. The Gulf Coast Shrimp and Jazz Festival runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Saturday, June 23rd. Jazz in the Arts is hosting a free jazz workshop before the festival starting at 9, and Jazz After Dark will follow the festival at 7 p.m.  Musician Mickey Smith Junior, with be performing at the event. Mickey Smith Jr. said in a statem...More >>
    Jazz music has been a staple of Louisiana's culture for many years, and you can help celebrate it this weekend. The Gulf Coast Shrimp and Jazz Festival runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Saturday, June 23rd. Jazz in the Arts is hosting a free jazz workshop before the festival starting at 9, and Jazz After Dark will follow the festival at 7 p.m.  Musician Mickey Smith Junior, with be performing at the event. Mickey Smith Jr. said in a statem...More >>
  • Compromise reached in special session

    Compromise reached in special session

    Friday, June 22 2018 9:28 PM EDT2018-06-23 01:28:47 GMT
    Rep. Paula Davis, a first-term legislator, presented the compromise bill that resolved a battle in the House over renewing part of a cent of state sales tax. (Source: Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)Rep. Paula Davis, a first-term legislator, presented the compromise bill that resolved a battle in the House over renewing part of a cent of state sales tax. (Source: Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service)

    By Paul Braun, Drew White, and Tryfon Boukouvidis LSU Manship School News Service BATON ROUGE--The House erupted into cheers Friday after voting 74-24 to renew 0.45 percent of an expiring penny of sales tax until 2025, breaking a huge logjam and reaching a compromise with Gov. John Bel Edwards after nearly five months of intense fighting. The bill would generate $466 million in additional revenue next year, falling $102 million short of the $648 million that Edwards had originally ...

    More >>

    By Paul Braun, Drew White, and Tryfon Boukouvidis LSU Manship School News Service BATON ROUGE--The House erupted into cheers Friday after voting 74-24 to renew 0.45 percent of an expiring penny of sales tax until 2025, breaking a huge logjam and reaching a compromise with Gov. John Bel Edwards after nearly five months of intense fighting. The bill would generate $466 million in additional revenue next year, falling $102 million short of the $648 million that Edwards had originally ...

    More >>
  • Some Sulphur residents confused by city utility increase

    Some Sulphur residents confused by city utility increase

    Friday, June 22 2018 8:47 PM EDT2018-06-23 00:47:58 GMT
    Sulphur residents were notified that they would see an increase in their city utility rates.  The flat monthly rate of $60.15 will be increased to $64.90 in Sulphur residents' bills on July 1.Sulphur residents were notified that they would see an increase in their city utility rates. The flat monthly rate of $60.15 will be increased to $64.90 in Sulphur residents' bills on July 1.

    Sulphur residents were notified that they would see an increase in their city utility rates. The flat monthly rate of $60.15 will be increased to $64.90 in Sulphur residents' bills on July 1. Some residents said they wish they would have been more informed prior to the meeting where this hike was presented.  The full breakdown of the increase includes:                      2017-2018       2018-2019 Gar...

    More >>

    Sulphur residents were notified that they would see an increase in their city utility rates. The flat monthly rate of $60.15 will be increased to $64.90 in Sulphur residents' bills on July 1. Some residents said they wish they would have been more informed prior to the meeting where this hike was presented.  The full breakdown of the increase includes:                      2017-2018       2018-2019 Gar...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly