As cancers go, multiple myeloma isn’t so bad. Sure, there is no cure. But new anti-myeloma drugs are being tested and approved at a rate of one or two each year.
While flying to speak to a cancer support group near Atlanta today, I read an interesting article about recent progress being made against non-small cell lung cancer. Part of the story focused on a chemotherapy maintenance drug, Alimta. Oncologists and researchers were excited about how well Alimta performed in a new research study, focusing on patients with non-squamous lung cancer. The article in the latest edition of Cure Magazine, quotes specialist Dr. Nasser Hanna as saying, “That’s the eye-popping part…That would be a survival gain we are not used to seeing with lung cancer.” Backing this statement up were results from the same study which only showed a 3 month average survival gain–from 10.6 months to 13.4 months–for other lung cancer patients.
Another drug, Tarkeva, only improved survival measured in weeks–12.3 weeks vs 11.1 weeks for those patients using a placebo. Only 1.2 weeks improvement! Oh my God!
In the fast-paced world of multiple myeloma research, gains are made in seven, ten or fourteen month increments. We are all hoping for a cure. Maybe we should step back and appreciate the yearly life expectancy gains being made against myeloma each year.
My heart goes out to these lung cancer patients and their families! I can only imagine what that might be like. Do I endure a number of side effects for an improved survival rate measured in a few short weeks or months? Or take my chances and avoid side effects during the short time I have left. Some decisions are tougher than others. But that’s not a decision–that’s unfair. That’s torture!
I always end my blog posts and articles by saying “Feel good and keep smiling!” Somehow that doesn’t seem appropriate here. Good luck to lung cancer patients and caregivers everywhere. Every difficult day is a blessing- Pat