Posted by: 2in10 | 06/09/2010

WSJ: Advances Come in War on Cancer

June 7, 2010:  The Wall Street Journal, page 1: “Researchers reported notable advances in the war on cancer over the weekend, including treatments for lung, ovarian and skin cancers, but they cautioned that the disease continues to throw up daunting obstascles of cost and complexity.” That was exciting news, especially appearing on the front page. The article by Ron Winslow and Peter Loftus cited “the potential for so-called targeted therapies, which attack cancer via genetic targets and other vulnerabilities.” That much sounds good.

As for ovarian cancer, the drug Avastin, which limits blood supply to tumors, has been found to extend the disease-free interval by four months, to 14 months. Four months! And that is front page news. Somehow I expected more. (And this is at a cost of $56,000 per year.)

It’s not that I wouldn’t be grateful for an extra day, or week, or month without disease progression. And I am very grateful for my successful treatment with Taxol and Cisplatin 16 years ago. But medical researchers like breast cancer expert George Sledge of Indiana University, are recognizing that, in his words, “Cancer is like cable television…Thirty years ago you had three channels. Now you have 300.”

As researchers discover how complex cancer is, some are concluding that mobilizing the body’s immune system may well be the best approach. I am left hoping we all can find ways to alter our body’s bio-chemistry, emotional milieus, and immediate environments, so we can support our immune systems to prevent cancer or recover completely from it.

Stay tuned. And let’s be patient with the experts and aggressive with our self-care.



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