No More Chemotherapy for Cancer?

The standard of care for cancer in the United States is typically surgery, followed by chemotherapy or radiation. It is based on the idea of removing the offending growth by any means necessary and hoping that the treatment is not more toxic than the patient can bear. For some cancers, especially early stage solid tumors, this can be effective. But isn’t it time that we moved past the machine gun approach and targeted the cancer not the patient?

Targeted therapeutics is an emerging area in oncology that focuses treatment on the cancer while sparing, healthy tissue. Imatinib (Gleevec) was the first drug to use this approach to treat patients with chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Gleevec blocks an enzyme in the signal pathway that is needed for cancer cells to survive. Newer drugs like Ibrutinib pick up where Gleevec left off and extend an 83% survival rate to other types of cancer, namely chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).  Patients’ usual complaint is fatigue as opposed to the devastating side effects of standard chemotherapy.  Now, success using chemotherapy-free regimens has the medical community buzzing about possibilities for the future.

Sophisticated genetic and molecular tests are currently available that provide insights into which pharmaceutical/other approach may be successful against the cancer. This prevents the patient from being subjected to a battery of toxic chemicals that may be completely ineffective. Cancer treatment is clearly not a one size fits all method. Organizations such as Chancellor Health Trust, specialize in creating and managing customized plans to meet specific health needs. Know that there are other options. Using the right treatments, at the right time in the right individual requires customized care but the rewards are life changing.

 

To make an appointment for a private consultation with Dr. Douglas,  please call 561.422.4248