Family offers words of caution in fighting cancer

Local News

A Western New York family is sharing their heartbreak after a loved one’s life-and-death struggle with cancer.

Chris Bremer, 35, won his battle with cancer, but ultimately lost his life due to a rare side effect of the cure.

Bremer seemed to be a healthy, rugged, loving father of 4 children and engaged to marry when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November, 2018.

The drug of choice for the chemotherapy to treat testicular cancer was bleomycin, and after a few months, Bremer’s sister Angela Murphy recalled Chris was in full remission.

But a few days later Chris had trouble breathing and Murphy said, doctors thought it might be pneumonia, “They don’t like to go right to the bleomycin lung injury because it is so rare. But after he was diagnosed he kind of went down pretty fast.”

Murphy and her family would learn, a rare side effect of bleomycin is bleomycin lung toxicity, but by the time doctors diagnosed the condition Bremer had to go on dialysis, and his lungs were barely useful.

Bremer was flown to the Cleveland Clinic on June 1 in the hopes he might get a lung transplant, but within a few days, on Fathers Day, he died.

Murphy said her family has started a GoFundMe page for Chris’ kids, “My brother is very a hard worker, he would work from sun up to sundown in the summer. He worked so hard to get a house for his kids, so that is my goal, to get a house for him.”

News 4 consulted with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for this story about the side effects of bleomycin, and received a statement from Dr. Ellis Levine, a senior oncologist.

His statement said, in part, “The limitations of medical therapies can be frustrating, which is why it’s important that teams all over the world – including here in Buffalo – are working to develop new and better therapies for diseases like cancer.”

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