In June of 2008 Leroy wrote on this blog that his latest scans showed his cancer had “exploded” to all places big and small in his body. He would die two months later.
There was nothing medicine could do about the spread of his colon cancer and back then there wasn’t even good medicine to control the pain that came with that explosion.
Almost 6 1/2 years later and ‘boy oh boy’ has cancer care come a long way. There’s palliative care that not only treats the comfort side of cancer, but many doctors believe it helps to prolong life in a cancer patient too.
And clinical trials are unveiling magic bullets for some cancers and for some patients. They don’t work for every one.
Before Leroy’s final scan, more than once, we had searched for any kind of unconventional, outside-the-box of standard care that could have helped stop the spread. His doctors scanned medical reports for any kind of clinical trial that he would qualify for. It didn’t have to be a phase 3 trial. We fully understood the “terminal” part of “terminal disease” but any phase 2 trial that would give him more time and more quality of life would have been worth a try. It just didn’t exist.
That was then.
Last night, I’m sitting at a table with a gentleman who has come through some of the toughest cancer treatment available….a last gasp to stop his pancreatic cancer. His was discovered at an early stage and it had not metastasized, but he was still facing an uphill battle. His doctor found a trial he thought was worth the gamble. It wasn’t easy and it tested his strength and fortitude more than once, but he made it through.
He had come to this meeting after getting the news that his scan showed no cancer. In his case, this particular clinical trial was the perfect match.
He’s a practical man and knows the tricks cancer can play on a body: gone today, back another day.
But there he was, healthy now thanks to a chance he took that paid off. Just think what science was learned by the success of his trial?
Paying it forward….Clinical trials….Taking a chance….Moving the needle to beat this beast.
The smile was the big pay off.