In the May 2010 issue of Ladies Home Journal,Susan Crandall begins her article, "When Wendy Harpham, MD, learned she had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 19 years ago, her first thought was for her kids. She was only 36, but as a doctor she knew the scary stats: Her life expectancy was only about seven years. ...But advances in medicine transformed her prognosis and her future. Harpham is a member of a small but growing contingent of cancer patients who live with metastatic or otherwise-incurable disease for years, even decades."
Crandall blends personal stories with an overview of the progress in cancer treatments to explain how the world of survivorship is changing.
- For some types of cancer, new treatments have transformed once uniformly fatal diseases into chronic diseases that can be managed like diabetes or heart disease.
- Researchers are finding new and better ways to use established treatments, such as by giving maintenance treatments after remission is achieved.
- Some targeted therapies offer equal or better efficacy with less toxicity.
- Promising new areas of treatment will continue to change the face of survivorship: nanobiology, immunotherapy and treatments aimes at cancer stem cell.
The two take-away messages are that research leads to better treatments and, to borrow Crandall's quote of Elizabeth Edwards, "You can live with cancer and you can live a full life."