Patient Leader Spotlight

Nicole Bhat

In the fall of 2015, my husband Shahzad began feeling sick. At first, it was fatigue and then it turned into nights sweats. After multiple trips to the doctor, an x-ray, and an MRI, we still didn’t have any answers.

Our concern grew over the next few months as his symptoms continued and an unexplainable pain in his foot was obviously bothering him. I called his doctor and asked them to run more tests. After weeks of waiting, his doctor called and said we had to get him to the ER immediately because he had high creatinine levels, indicating kidney failure.

Finally, after even more tests, we had an answer. Shahzad was diagnosed with Mantle Cell lymphoma, which is a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After months of chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancer, which had spread to his foot, doctors now believed that Shahzad had large B-cell lymphoma.

Armed with this new information, we looked into other treatment options, including CAR T-cell therapy. Although unavailable in Nevada, we sought care at Stanford University so that Shahzad would have access to new and cutting-edge treatment. This includes scans that provided full color and near 3-D images of his cancer that provide doctors with the information they need on how the treatment is working. Shahzad’s cancer has unfortunately returned, but with the help of medical imaging, we will continue to fight.

Without innovative medical imaging scans, my husband’s cancer treatment could not be nearly as effective. That’s also why I’m going to DC with Right Scan Right Time. I want to share our story with Members of Congress, so they understand why medical innovation is so vital for families like ours. One measure we’ll be advocating for is repeal of the medical device tax, so those funds can go to research and development investment in future innovations that improve quality of care and ultimately save lives.