Five years ago colon cancer didn’t have much of a menu of treatments.
We knew what the doctors started Leroy on was the best chemo cocktail they had at the time. First line treatment and if that didn’t work, the next choice would be more in the order of a ‘shot in the dark.’ Those sometimes worked, but a lot of luck played into those second and third attempts at slowing down the spread.
Metastatic disease does not end well. It comes down to quality of life, once the quantity of life is measured.
It’s been 40 years since the Kimmel Cancer Center has been in the business of discovery. Discovery is what keeps them searching for new treatments and better ways to give cancer patients with advanced disease hope that they will stretch their life span past what the statistics say.
In colon cancer world, the ideas and the ‘what-if’s that were in the minds of those lab guys in the white coats back in Leroy’s days of cancer are now the real deal. Some of them come in the form of clinical trials that are killing the cancer that killed Leroy. Other treatments are the new first line attackers.
The biggest discovery has been in the world of genetics and cancer. How some of us get the disease in the first place and how methods of diagnosis and treatment have been developed through the process of genetic sequencing that leads to new therapies.
But we can’t forget the patients who gave of themselves, the ones who paid it forward to open the door to these new frontiers. They need to be remembered and thanked too.
They’ve made sure the ‘tic-toc’ of the cancer clock doesn’t skip a beat.