My aunt has breast cancer and there is no surgery, drug, cocktail, vaccine, or doctor that
can promise to cure her.
Nope. She will have to fight her cancer with kryptonite and hope for the best.
After a double mastectomy, her only options for treatment are 5 weeks of radiation and/or chemotherapy, which will make her nauseous, cause her hair to fall out, weaken her immune system, drain her energy, damage her heart, lungs, & kidneys and put her at risk for other cancers in the future.
Sounds like what kryptonite did to Superman.
Despite big advances in genomic medicine and research, these are the same treatment modality used for breast cancer since the early 20th century with no significant decline in deaths from breast cancer in 50 years.
In fact, research shows that an older, most toxic chemotherapy drug commonly used for breast cancer, Adriamycin, is only effective in 8% of women with breast cancer.
Now, if I'm going to put myself through this kind of hell and mortgage my home to pay for it, it better work, or "cure" my cancer, damn it. Yet, shockingly, oncologists don't make such promises. They don't have reliable statistics for "survival" rates for each individual case and they certainly don't use the word "cure."
So, as we pour record amounts of money - $4 billion to date - into breast cancer research, we have to ask ourselves where it's getting us. Frankly, I'm tired of the all the talk and "walks for a cure" that have not produced better, effective, and affordable treatments, let alone a cure.
No more empty promises. It's time to demand results in exchange for our money and efforts.
If the money is going to the pharmaceutical companies, hold them accountable to make better, more targeted drugs that work. Hold the FDA accountable when they approve expensive cancer drugs based on preliminary evidence that later prove to have little or no benefit, a practice that has continued since the early 1990's.
Just yesterday, federal officials questioned companies that make six cancer drugs about their failure to complete follow-up studies they promised to conduct in exchange for accelerated approval. Full story.
Do you want to put your and your loved one's fate in their hands? I don't.
Before making any treatment decisions, I recommended that my aunt get a chemotherapy sensitivity test through OncotypeDX which will tell her how her cancer will respond to specific chemotherapy drugs and how likely her cancer is to return. This way, she will know if the chemo and all the side effects will be worth it in the end.
As for me, I will give my time & money to those like The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation who is working hard to prevent, cure and eradicate breast cancer.
I love you, aunt Mina. God will see you through. You are a superhero to me.