June 30, 2005
Doctors reexamine lung cancer arsenal
Extended treatments for lung cancer patients.
Each year in the United States 50,000 people will develop one kind of lung cancer, called non-small-cell lung cancer. In the past, these people would have been treated just by surgical removal of the tumors, but now they’ll be treated with chemotherapy after their surgeries. According to this article, “…69 percent of patients who had surgery and chemotherapy were still alive five years later, as compared to 54 percent who had just surgery”. This difference in the percentage of survivors is huge for cancer patients, as is the time it offers them. For many lung cancer patients, grueling treatments provide less than 5 more months of life. This treatment could mean living long enough to see milestones in the lives of family members for these 50,000 patients.
One question that people often have about theses types of treatment is in the cost/benefit analysis. Surgery can mean removing all or a portion of a lung, and chemotherapy makes patients very sick and weak. Patients wonder if their quality of life will justify undergoing invasive treatments. This new approach alleviates some of that concern in that the chemotherapy lasts for 16 weeks, but the patient could gain years of life after treatment is over.
I think that any development in cancer treatment in wonderful. My grandpa died of lung cancer after they removed one of his lungs. Maybe if this treatment was available he would have had the chance to live a couple of more years.
Posted by: Chuck at July 5, 2005 5:08 PM