Guntersville Man Beats Cancer Through Stem Cell Transplant

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)  -- Given a 50/50 chance of survival, Joseph Overton knew he was not got to stop fighting cancer.  Seven months after receiving a stem cell transplant at Huntsville Hospital, the 78-year-old Guntersville man is now cancer free and counting his blessings.

Overton was diagnosed with B cell lymphoma, a very aggressive form of cancer that spreads quickly.

But the diagnosis, however grim was not going to stop Overton from fighting and he had a special weapon in his corner, Dr. Jeremy Hon at Huntsville Hospital and his well-trained stem cell transplant team.

"You come to me when you want to fight cancer, you don't come to me if you are looking for a referral to Hospice," said Dr. Hon.  "You come to me to fight."

A stem cell transplant is not for every patient, but Overton was a perfect candidate due to his healthy lifestyle and his type of cancer. According to information from the Mayo Clinic, a stem cell transplant can be performed if high-dose chemotherapy is given in the treatment of blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or amyloidosis.

A stem cell transplant helps your body make enough healthy white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets, and reduce your risk of life-threatening infections, anemia and bleeding following high-dose chemotherapy.

At Huntsville Hospital, the procedure used to replenish your body's supply of healthy blood-forming cells is known as a autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplant--meaning the stem cells transplanted use cells from your own body.

Huntsville Hospital is the only hospital in a 100-mile radius with the equipment and staff needed for a stem cell transplant. The hospital purchased new machinery for the department this past year.

Overton is back to doing what he loves thanks to the stem cell transplant. During the last year he took a trip to Disney, a cruise and has started building houses again.

"I tell people that Dr. Hon saved my life and for that I am truly grateful," Overton told WHNT News 19.


  • Grim Reaper

    This research could have been much more advanced. President Bush put a stop to most of the stem cell research when he was inn office. It was President Obama that lifted the ban and allowed the stem cell research to once again move forward.

  • Dan Poynter

    A stem cell transplant could be the life-saving answer.

    New book:
    TRANSPLANT HANDBOOK FOR PATIENTS: Replacing Stem Cells in Your Bone Marrow.

    This book helps the patient, caregiver, and family to understand the stem cell transplant journey.

    By a 75-year old author, at 7 months since his transplant, who is setting records for recovery.

  • Helen Matthews

    Clearview Cancer Center and Huntsville Hospital is the place to go for cancer treatment. I should know I’ve been treated there for 8 years.

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