Friday, June 20, 2008

cancer is a chronic illness

My father-in-law, himself a cancer survivor, sent me a terrific article from the New York Times:

"Cancer as a Disease, Not a Death Sentence"

That about sums it up, for me.

I particularly enjoyed the following anecdote, so reflective of my own experience (the drugs are different, except for the Herceptin):

''Dr. Esteva described a breast cancer patient first treated with a mastectomy and the antiestrogen tamoxifen in 1995. Five years later, cancer had spread to her lungs, prompting treatment with a newer anticancer drug, an aromatase inhibitor. When that no longer worked, her cancer was found to possess a molecular factor, HER-2, and she began treatment with Herceptin, a designer drug tailor made to attack HER-2-positive breast cancer.

Herceptin therapy was able to stabilize her metastases for years, “something we had not seen before,” Dr. Esteva said.

The patient now receives a combination of Herceptin and another drug and enjoys a relatively normal quality of life, the doctor reported.''

The article describes beautifully the approach of my oncologist. First treatment A is tried until that stops working, then treatment B and so on. Ideally, treatment would continue in this way until a cure is found . For the time, being, though many of us are living longer than anyone thought we would and with a pretty good quality of life.

Cross-posted to Mothers with Cancer.


Anonymous said...

So cool. I just love science when it makes such phenomenal leaps. It is interesting how relatively slower society is in understanding/adopting the new reality. Must be similar for people living with other chronic illnesses for which treatment has improved beyond what was thought possible (like MS or HIV). Here's an old-fashioned hug *

laurie said...

I like your old-fashioned hugs. xo

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the info. More people need to be made aware of this GOOD information.Im so glad I found this post!

Interesting!! tHANKS !!

All about Lung Cancer

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