Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cancer’s Evolutionary Leap in Just 2 Years

While we're anxious to take the next step, we want to take the time to make sure the next form of treatment is the right one. Last night we discussed the next viable options with my doctor and 3-4 therapies available for lung cancer and their effectiveness. One option (a combination of 2 chemotherapy drugs which I haven’t been on before) seemed to outweigh the others. I would be confident with this decision and we could start tomorrow.

However, cancer treatments and cancer research has taken an evolutionary leap in just 2 years. Literally, drug development and targeted therapies have exploded in the past few years. Driving this influx is a new understanding of the cancer cells DNA, molecular structure, and mutations that turn healthy cells into malignant ones. There are even certain diagnostic tools or DNA markers that researchers look for that better identify a cancer cells DNA that didn’t exist 2 years ago.

With that being said, we feel that having the genetic testing on my cancer cells is important to our decision for multiple reasons. The biopsies taken 2 and 3 years ago could be tested, and my doctor is looking into it. If those initial samples are viable for testing, then great. If not, we will probably have to go in next week for some form of biopsy that hopefully won’t be too invasive.

Cancer research stands on the threshold of unprecedented opportunity and I can’t imagine what will exist 2 years from now and another 2 years after that. The new therapies or “smart drugs” are changing the face of medicine, not to mention giving so many of us a sense of HOPE. They have already impacted longer survival rates and have contributed to the concept of cancer as being a chronic disease.

I wish I could say that we were starting some form of treatment this week, but it looks like things will just have to wait another week or two.


devon said...

I really admire your thoughtfulness in what must be a completely overwhelming process. Karen's right, you are a total rock star.

monster said...

Dan, just wanted to remind you as you wait for the next step to continue to build both physical and mental strength to help you through whatever is next. Keep having fun and building up the positive energies so you're working off some momentum when you need it.

Love ya - Holly

MOM said...

Dan, Thanks for taking the time to blog the new info. Yes, if this had happened 20 years ago, you would be gone on to your next life. I thank God and the medical field for all the new research, therapies, etc. We know u are helping to write the history books of medicine. You are so strong and positive and I admire your fortitude. Love, mom

Mary Alice Tinari, RN, AOCN said...

I work with patients on these new targeted therapies every day. This is truly a new age in cancer treatment. People are LIVING with cancer. I am glad you have such good medical care. It is important to seek out the doctors who are writing the articles, not just the MDs who read them!