Jun 1, 2012

It’s all about the numbers—or is it?

12 million individual Americans have cancer. That’s a lot. Of course not all cancers are equal. Some grow very slowly, others very quickly. Some are nearly always fatal, some are sometimes fatal, and some are almost never fatal.

There are always new drugs in the clinical trials chain that have the promise of cure (not often enough), prolonging life, or improving quality of life. There are also ongoing controversies about the high costs of trials and drugs, and whether or not regular testing should actually occur (remember the recent discussions about breast cancer and prostate cancer testing). There are published statistics about survival advantage, incontinence, harm vs. benefit, waiting vs. not waiting, and on and on. It never ends--which is probably a good thing in the long run.

But for anyone with incurable cancer it’s a very, very individual thing. For example, I know a lot of guys with long term prostate cancer and no two of us are getting exactly the same treatment (unless we’re in a trial). Individual cancer treatment depends on factors such as age, overall physical condition, speed of cancer growth, resistance to certain drugs, allergies, tolerance of side effects, health insurance coverage, and some other things most of us have probably never heard of.

Regardless of national or international statistics about cancer and cancer treatments, your best interests lie in focusing on your needs, talking and listening to your medical team, and looking for the things that might help you. Whatever the ‘statistics’ and ‘experts’ say, you are not just a number—OK, you’re actually number ONE (remember that)!

Any given drug or treatment will either help (100% effective) or not help (0% effective) you. All those statistics might or might not have anything to do with what’s best for you!

To put a smile on your face see Larry's latest cartoon.

To learn more about clinical trials, take a look at our book.
(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

No comments:

Post a Comment