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 Not Just About Cancer.