Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PROGRESS? NOT IN MY FAMILY......

The title speaks for itself.  Pink has undermined everything.  NO PROGRESS.

"Breast cancer is not the great success story it's hyped to be, it's just the one that's been the best marketed."

~A selfie quote

Pink sells.  It's the feel good cancer.  Unless, of course, it happens to have altered your body.  Then, not so much.

Go ahead.  Quote me a statistic.  NO PROGRESS.  Ok, I'll concede.  Some progress for some people but not the progress we need for the vast majority of the population and especially for those who are living with and dying from metastatic disease.  And how about those who are dealing with collateral damage from treatment fallout?

What?  You need to stick your hand into the wound like doubting Thomas?  Be My Guest.  And then, do me a favor?  Throw a heap of money on the table and I'll match it.  Winner take all.

As we enter the land of the pink ribbon, have we learned anything different than what we knew last year, five years ago, twenty five plus years ago.  Yes, we have new targeted therapies but has the landscape truly changed?

Surgical techniques are better but surgery is still surgery.  Imaging tests have gotten more sophisticated, but imaging doesn't stop anything.

My mom was diagnosed with her first primary cancer in October 1987.  I began chemo and was doing all sorts of post op appointments in October 2006.  If my math is correct, her initial treatment was 27 years ago.  It consisted of a wire insertion surgical biopsy.  Check.  I had one of those, too.  Then, she had a mastectomy.  Check.  I did that too, except I was able to begin simultaneous reconstruction.  Lymph nodes?  Mom had nineteen removed, four cancerous.  I was injected with radioactive dye for a sentinel node biopsy.  Only five were removed.  Where are the great advances in this scenario?  I see none.

Moving right along.  Chemotherapy.  My mom's cocktail of drugs began with a three poison combo, after which, one of the poisons was swapped out for another.  The needle was in her hand. The drugs were pushed.  Two of those drugs in round one? Methotrexate and Fluorouracil.  My cocktail of toxins, CMF, included both Methotrexate and Fluorouracil.  Mine were dripped. So the great advance in the chemotherapy was an IV pole?

Post treatment, my mom was put on tamoxifen which did cause other issues as I recall.  I bypassed tamoxifen and went directly to an aromitase inhibitor when I made the decision to remove my ovaries.  The AI's are a newer class of drugs but they do the same thing.  Suppress estrogen.  And the revolutionary advance here would be...... yeah, didn't really think so. 

You MUST be kidding me.  In the case of me and my mom, NOTHING has changed.  Like I said.  NO PROGRESS.




Thanks to my superstar, superhero, super organized and SUPER CARETAKER dad, I have every single one of mom's records from 1987 which were of immeasurable help to OUR oncologist in 2007 when they found the new cancer in her other breast.
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