Saturday, June 30, 2012

Forget the Bad and Focus on the Good

Forget the bad and focus on the good! This is a good way to think but not so easy sometimes. Yesterday we had sort of a last minute notice that a fast moving storm was heading our way with 60 to 80 mph winds . Yikes Peter and I rushed around  trying to take some control  to save our treasures on the deck. Like our new bright yellow umbrella  and the red cushions for our out door furniture.  Out side it was like an oven! 100 degrees and who knows what the heat factor was. The sky was dark and scary.  Within in ten minutes the wind  was   here, such a surprise when within 2 minutes the electric went out! Oh great now we are closed up in the house with  out AC and the windows closed it was 5:15 pm and the hottest time of the day. The good thing was a bit  hard to realize other than remembering as kids we did not have AC. Duke energy was out in the front of the house about 7:30 but they did not stay. OMG  The rain passed and the temperature  dropped (some). Peter left to go to work at 8:30.
 My Iphone entertained me for a while, the battery got low, so I started reading  my Nook as the lap top was not charged. So the lesson I have learned is to always keep all  your electronics fully charged! The electric was working around 10 pm.

Several of you have asked how "how am I feeling" after I have my coffee I feel pretty good. Yesterday morning I figured I was well enough to drive to Krogers  and pick up some goodies for pasta salad and cat food.  This was about 9:30 am the temps were around 87 degrees.. I went to the salad bar to make a salad, well Krogers have changed the quality of the  containers to put your salad in. Flimsy is the word, so I attempted to put a rubber band around my container. For some reason ( maybe part of it was Chemo Brain) this did not work very well. the rubber band cut into the container and it began to break apart. OK now what do I do?  There was only a six inch space to attempt to save the salad. There was not a handy trash can available.  At this point in my shopping I was really tried! So I got another flimsy container and set the broken one in it, but of course it was really not much of a enforcement. I had just seen my friend Steve Gall and had thought about asking him to help me get the groceries checked out and in the car. Of course, I did not ask for his help and I was on my own. I went to check out and got a plastic bag to set this wonderfully packaged salad in. Problem solved. So I wheel my cart outside and it had to have been 95  degrees out.  OMG where was my car! When you are in decent physical shape you do not notice the hills in the parking lot.  It was excruciating getting to the car and putting the groceries inside. I made it home :) Peter was a sleep after working all night so I now had to get the several bags of stuff into the house. I did it ! I put the refrigerator  stuff in and left the rest for Peter to put away. The lesson I learned is - don't over do it. I was not ready to attempt shopping by myself in the middle of a record breaking heat wave. LOL

I have to remind my self that I am not even three weeks out of chemo - chemo builds up in your system and visits for a while - I just have to deal with it. I need to make smart decisions as I heal and give my body time to strengthen.. I have sort of been to hell and back ! Today is much better AC is working and I am hanging out inside, I even made the pasta salad!

Monday, June 25, 2012

I am moving forward - slowly. My legs hurt from the chemo treatments so this slows me down and wears me out. It has been  two weeks today since my last chemo treatment, it will take a while to get this crap out of my system:(  My memory is better  and I am not so scattered.  Which is good!  I  purchased these great Signature knitting needles  and have started a pair of socks with this wonderful yarn that flows into different colors. So it is intriguing to see the results.  I am now  two weeks into recovery! Only 258 weeks to the  five year survivor goal! I am on my way! Thanks for sharing my journey with me! 

  Linda Baldwin Stewart Not sure who the guy is. Linda lived a block from the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her parents owned this hotel. Keep in mind - teenagers  on the beach -  a block from where they filmed the movie in 1960 "Where The Boys Are" with Connie Francis. Spring Break fever has spread through the years as the number one thing to do during spring break.. A few years later (1963)   Linda and I were celebrating  by the famous Elbo Room and at our favorite  hangout  "Jens". Bobby Ridel's brother worked there.!  
Sue, Hi!! So glad about you not doing radiation. I have never heard of anyone doing radiation twice on the same breast. I unfortunately had 1 then the other. I'm really proud of you doing the reconstruction. I only had lumpectomy's on both. They might be smaller but I have said no more surgery had enough. I work out 3 times a week and it has helped my congestive heart failure. Will never be able to stand high humidity but at least I can go outside and get into a car without feeling like I can't breath. That is the worst feeling. I have my big test in Aug. that will tell how much of the heart is actually damaged. The Dr. feels that it is not as bad as he thought at the beginning. The working out has actually helped my heart muscles. Really amazing. I will be going away either Aug. or Sept. not sure yet. If Brian wants to go on a trip we will if not I will go to San Francisco and stay 2 weeks with my Aunt. i love going there. I want to try going on a trip in the states before we go back to Europe next year(France & Spain). I have to take oxygen with me even though I never use it. The Dr. said no way without it. just a portable. Just a pain in the ass as far as i'm concerned. Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing. Keep up the good work. Take care
Love, Linda

Friday, June 22, 2012

Peter's Post on Facebook

Cancer tried to change us but it didn't count on our being more than we were when we married. Chemotherapy hindered your thought, took the sparkle from your eyes and made you cry but it didn't take your spirit. The treatment never seems to end as the variables continue to materialize but I'll always be there with you. We still laugh at each other and like to go on adventure, even if it's only to Home Depot so you can walk and I can drool...I love you, Beryl!
 ·  ·  · Wednesday at 12:10pm · 

No Radiation !!! Good News

No radiation:) good news
 The benifits vs the damage the radiation could do to my soft tissue (skin) was a toss up. Radiation on an already radiated area can cause destruction/ destroy tissue, create the tissue to open up and   leave open wounds that  sometimes do not heal. Dr Summe said it is time to move forward get on my oral meds and be examined every 6 months and to let go of the worry of the cancer returning. He told me not to be afraid!
My chemo brain/chemo head or just plain confusion is lifting ! I felt better yesterday- I feel even better today. Sugar and I went for a walk - I did not make it to the mile mark - but I walked faster and  a considerable distance, compared to walking  to the neighbors drive way and back.

So what is next? I have a new bone density test (scan) on July 2 , scheduled to meet with Dr Bhandari on July 9. He will tell me what to do next. I know I have to start on the daily  oral medication ( not sure which one) and I want to get the reconstruction surgery done as soon as possible. I think Dr. Bhandari has different thoughts on this . He told me to not go back to the plastic surgeon until he tells me to! I have had enough of the ex- panders - it is like having two rocks  resting on my chest. I am sure this will be on the bottom of the to do list!. Is my journey over- no it is not. However the worst is behind me.  I am moving forward!

My bucket list is the beach  after Labor Day! Santa Fe, maybe for Thanksgiving.

Bhandari, Manish, M.D.
Specialties: Hematology & Oncolog

Medical & Undergraduate Education

Medical School:

Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Graduated: 1996

Internship Hospital:

Brown University
Providence, RI, USA
Year completed: 1997

Residency Hospital:

Los Angeles, CA, USA
Year completed: 2003

Fellowship Hospital:

University Of Mi
Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Thursday, June 21, 2012


June21, 2012
Today is they day I meet with Dr Summe, my radiologist. It is kind of coming full circle  this is   where I started five years and 3 months ago! I am hoping for no radiation. I admit I am a bit anxious.

Summe, Robert, M.D.
Specialties: Radiation Oncology  

Breast-cancer survivor fights city, wins right to swim in pool topless

After months of trying, a Seattle woman who underwent a double mastectomy has won permission to swim topless in city pools.
Seattle Times staff reporter
"We're trying to protect children." Rather subjective, isn't it? I...  MORE
Part of me agrees that nudity is not really an issue and that maybe something like this...  MORE
Some of the comments seems like they've missed the point - this woman has NO breasts. ... MORE
Click here
Jodi Jaecks learned on Wednesday that she will be permitted to swim topless in Seattle's public pools, but she isn't happy.
The breast-cancer survivor, who underwent a double mastectomy, asked in February to swim with her chest uncovered, contrary to Seattle Parks and Recreation Department policy that women must wear tops in city pools.
At the time, wearing swimsuit tops was painful for Jaecks because they pressed sensitive scars and nerve damage resulting from her March 2011 surgery and subsequent chemotherapy.
"I certainly was not trying to be provocative — I just wanted to convince them that it wasn't inappropriate," Jaecks said. "I could have gone back and just jumped into the pool topless, but that's not my style. I was trying to be respectful."
The 47-year-old pushed the issue for months with the support of other cancer survivors, but it wasn't until The Stranger published a story about her situation on Wednesday that the parks department relented.
Now, the only woman who can swim topless in Seattle's pools is Jaecks — and only during adult lap sessions.
Permission to swim topless will be considered on a case-by-case basis for other people who have undergone surgeries, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Christopher Williams said in a news release issued late Wednesday afternoon.
Jaecks says that's not good enough. She wants the dress code changed for all women with mastectomy scars. She'll keep on pressing for such a policy change, she says, and Wednesday night was not sure whether she would take advantage of the decision in her favor.
"It's absurd and ludicrous that they would give one person permission because it puts the onus on a specific person to ask for permission individually," Jaecks said. "It's going to be harder for a more reserved, self-conscious woman to have the guts to stand out and be different."
Today, bathing-suit tops aren't as painful for Jaecks as they were in February, but she says not having to wear suits emphasizing what's been taken from her body is liberating — not just for her own self-image, but for anyone who has battled cancer.
"If the rest of the world could get used to these images — which would be huge — I think it would be easier for women to deal with getting breast cancer," said Jaecks, whose body and energy levels have been slowly returning to normal since her chemotherapy ended in November. "Aside from being alive, there aren't many upsides to life after cancer."
Seattle parks officials repeatedly declined Jaecks' request to swim topless at Medgar Evers Pool in the Central District. Public nudity in itself is not illegal, but it goes against policy designed to help patrons feel comfortable at city park venues, said Dewey Potter, spokeswoman for the parks department.
Potter said they had discussed other options — Jaecks could wear loosefitting jerseys as she swam, for example — but Jaecks specifically wanted to be topless.
"We're trying to protect children," Potter said."A public pool isn't necessarily the place to be carrying out an agenda."
Jaecks said baring her scars is important because it was the photo of a mother who had undergone a mastectomy lying freely on a beach with her children that first inspired her to get a mastectomy, rather than a less-invasive procedure.
The decision was difficult for Jaecks, but it ultimately freed her from fear of more frequent surgeries, mammogram checks and possible cancer resurgence.
Jaecks said she understands why she'll be limited to adult lap sessions, but objects to that limitation as well.
"Kids get cancer, too," Jaecks said. "It's a human fact people need to wrap their heads around. Children can embrace reality, too."
Seattle Times staff reporter Jayme Fraser contributed to this report.
Alexa Vaughn: 206-464-2515 or

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I am ready to move out of chemo my chemo haze!

June 17, 2012
Sunday 12:00 pm

This has been a slow week, I am six days into chemo treatment recovery and five days from the bone marrow shot. I was back in Dr. Bhandari's office on Friday - just some side effects from treatment that have left me sluggish, my body functions have slowed down, nothing serious, my red blood count was high and of course my blood pressure is low 94/58. I am light headed and off balance, I am retaining fluids. My back and head hurt a lot, along with all over discomfort. Peggy who runs the chemo room, says I am weak. ( Peggy is awesome she  knows what she is doing and along with her staff - her wonderful staff of nurses - they understand what your going through and will do what ever it takes to care for their, patients.  Peggy is a free spirit and a what you see is what you get person, I love her.) They wanted to do an MRI , I do not qualify for an MRI's at his time as I have these breast ex-panders in my chest. ( remember them?) Well they have magnets in them  and an MRI  is a magnetic type thing. So no MRI. So I had regular  cat scan of my head - I was told looks good:) So as my long time friend Linda Stewart ( breast cancer survivor) always says "I am fine".  

The weak part is what I do not like! I need to be up and moving do something productive. Wimping around is not going to build strength. I am almost 64 and weak I hate it.  My dog Sugar's foot was hurting her last night ( she is always trying to catch bees). We were both going up the stairs to bed  and we were both  moving very slow. I looked at her and sat down and laughed. She was holding her paw up and climbing the stairs with me in slow motion. Very funny.  The best part is I will feel much better this time next week. My goal is to be able to work in my flower gardens in one month! With the help of my hubby Peter:) 

 Thank you everyone for keeping my spirits up  and sharing my journey with me. Thank you Carolyn for your kind words yesterday. This is truly a community journey you help me stay strong. Gloria my old friend our spirits are totally in sync:)
    1:00 PM
Prayers of Healing
In my private yet always changing group of friends that  are on their own cancer journey we share a lot in the waiting  and the chemo rooms. Dr Bhandari's chemo/cancer group, I have a new chemo sister . Through my chemo brain/ haze I can not pull out her name at this time:(  I dislike referring to someone as she, but here is the story. My new friend  is very much in my thoughts. Thou  her cancer is not new to her - she is such a strong, happy soul/ she is a Minister's wife and has a fabulous support system. When I saw her on Friday she  was searching for authorization  to fly to the beach for a few days. This was iffy as she also a blood clot in her lung. Dr. Bhandari eventually sent her on her way and she went bouncing out the door.

 Her cancer path began several years ago with increased fatigue, weakness and feeling " something is wrong". She works with children and her arms began to ache so much she could not wipe off table tops. She went to her OB and family Dr. they did not see anything  wrong.  She became panicked and returned to her family DR. with the words " someone needs to do something - I am dying"  They  sent her for a cat scan.. The technician came out and told her he was calling her Dr. as there was a milky film over her organs. You the reader of this can sort of figure out where this leads.:( The shocking part is she had stage 4 ovarian cancer and it spread  through out her body.. She had her ovaries removed 28 years ago - she did not have cancer at that time. WHAT ! omg - those sneaky damn cancer cells, they develop where ever they please. Stage 4  cancer spread though out her body. Just like that her life changed.

She needed emergency surgery. OMG, again! This is where the insurance company raised it's head and steped in. They needed proof as in  a biopsy before they would authorize this  surgery or they would not pay!.  ( yes they do require this, a surgery before a surgery) The surgeon fought this battle for her with the words"I do not need or do we have time for a biopsy, I need to save her life". The emergency surgery happened and she is now a survivor living with cancer.

The enormous prayer and energy groups that follow her journey, faith, positive  energy, the surgeon - call it what you want - it prevailed - they removed the film covering her organs, they did what they could surgically.  The results were she went into a remission. Was this a miracle?  Yes !

Living with cancer, the fight was far from over, she had all the necessary treatments with some steps forward and some steps backwards. The cancer was still in her body - I call in hiding. The treatment went well and she recovered, moved forward. I am sure she always had her wonderful smile on her face. 

 On her recent path, I think she said  two years ago the ovarian caner  needed some attention. A new journey began - her blood count suddenly went from a range of 200 to 3000 she again had an active cancer and a blood clot in her lung. This fight continues, her spirit is great, her energy is  contagious and I am sure she smiled all the way to the beach. 
Plus she has a really good wig. hee hee!

Life is great.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

From The Chemo Room, rambeling post chemo

June 11, 2012
11:20 AM
Here we are Me, Peter and Melba at the cancer center for hopefully my last chemo session.

12:28 PM
  I have had my blood test I am in recliner number 15 waiting to see Dr Manuis Bhandari.

1:10 PM
The three of us have talked to my Dr. My blood work is very good! :)  This is my last session.What happens next? I need to meet with Dr. Summe who is my oncology radiologist. ( he took care of me when I had radiation five years ago) this will be a consultation  in regards to if my situation requires more radiation. When they removed the tumors and the breast - the margins which are  sourrounding tissue outside of the tumor were  close to my bone. Dr Bhandari 's words were "2 mm, actually about 1mm from the bone". Which is close. He is not overly concerned  about this - but as a precaution he wants the consultation with Dr.

If if you think of a fried egg- with the  yellow part of the egg as the tumor and the egg white as the surrounding tissue . The healthy tissue is close to the bone but healthy.

I see Dr. Summe on June 21 at 3:30 PM
 I have a bone density scan on July 2 8:45 AM

6:00 PM
 I am still here - they slowed the Taxotere drip down as I was getting a reaction my hands were becoming numb and  I went from being chilled to being flushed and hot, I had some shooting pain  in my back  underneath my shoulder.

7:05 PM
It is over for today! I am tired - sleep does not come easy when you are on high doses of steroids.
Peter is here to pick me up and we are going to get a pizza..

June 12, 2012
11:00 AM
I have arrived for my post chemo check up and the neulasta shot. I have gained  four pounds over night.My blood pressure was low  94/58 and I am unsteady. My stomach is bloated and I seem to be dehydrated. SO I am back in recliner 15 and getting an IV drip.

12:50 PM

IV Drip is over, I am still light headed, blood pressure is a bit better. SO I getting another around of IV fluids. Peter has gone home to let the dog out. I am reclining in my chair with a heated blanket, Not feeling to well. The left quad of my stomach is not making any noise.  I am sent home with some laxative   suppositories.

3:10 PM
I am ready to go home the second IV drip is over

June 13, 2012

1:43 PM
I am a bit scattered today - blaming it on the chemo treatment and the bone marrow injection I had yesterday. The shot is of Neulasta  the horrid side effect's is a toss up between the steroids and this shot as to what has the worst side effects. I found this post in a comment section at the pharmacological site . It pretty much says it all :(

Comment from: AnnMarie, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: February 10
I've just received cycle 3 of 8 cycles of Chemo, with Neulasta injections 2 times. I was NOT prepared emotionally for the intense pain, and debilitating effects of the Neulasta. If I had not had help from my husband for even the simpliest tasks I don't know what I would have done. I received my latest Neulasta injection 5 days ago. I am finally starting to get some strength back, and don't feel AS winded. My first round of Chemo didn't include Neulasta, and I went thru it like a breeze, but with Neulasta, not so good. Looking down the road at 5 more cycles of Chemo, I just want to cry at the thought of getting Neulasta and it's side effects. Any advice?

The best news is this was my last chemo treatment!
Quote: Fear doesn't defeat cancer; empowered treatment defeats cancer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Steroids and Chemo

As much as I dislike the steroids I have taken my  breakfast and than lunch dose. Sugar and I have lots of energy so we went for our walk. Sugar is taking a nap and I am blogging and watching HGTV. I also am eating pizza.  Tomorrow I get to spend the day with my chemo friends. I will see Dr. Bhandari, I have lots of questions and am anxious to see what happens next. I know I will be going on an oral treatment program. At one point I was told this will be for 10 years. However there is not a set treatment plan. It changes from time to time or always changes.   He always looks at what is the best for me as an individual patient and what is happening to my body at the time and of course what is going on in medical research.

I plan on making a full recovery. I know in the real world and from the lab reports, which show me as a high risk for reoccurring. The goal of my medical team is to stop this nasty little cancer from
reoccurring. I am certain that with magic of modern research and discovery of  I will be fine!

This is truly a "Relay For Life" - thank you American Cancer Association who fights to beat cancer!

Here is some information  on the genetic research field that is happening from the Mayo Clinic.
My brothers and I are going to be part of this research. My brother Bob had bone cancer as a child and from what I know, is the genes they are looking for ( which might not show up in my testing)  could show up in one of siblings.  My goals are  awareness of genetic cancer and also to maybe pave a path for others that are traveling a similar journey. This picture is of my Aunt Bernice (my Mother's sister She had breast and ovarian cancer) My Father Bob Ward, who died of colon and stomach cancer at the age of 63, and Beryl Christen (my Grandmother) 

In recent years, genetic testing to predict your cancer risk has become more available. As researchers learn more about how genes can predict your cancer risk, it's important to consider all the options.
If you're in a high-risk family, you may be considering genetic testing. The most common cancers that have a genetic component include breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancers (along with many others as well).
Before you undergo genetic testing, gather as much information as you can about your family and medical history. Talk with your doctor or a genetic counselor about your personal and family medical history. This will help you better understand your risk. Discuss any questions or concerns you have about genetic testing. Also, talk about what your options will be, depending on the results of the test.
If a positive genetic test is discovered, you'll be able to talk with an expert about your specific risk. Some of the benefits of genetic testing include early interventions to decrease risk of actually developing cancer, such as:
  • More frequent screening tests (detecting cancer earlier with increased survival rate — colon cancer is a good example)
  • Prevention strategies including positive lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise)
  • Informed decisions can be made for pro-active interventions (for example a decision to have prophylactic mastectomy or removal of ovaries for women with high risk to develop breast or ovarian cancer)
The field of studying genes for predicting cancer is evolving constantly. We are only at the beginning stages of understanding how genes predict our cancer risk and many other aspects of health.
Please share your thoughts on this topic and your personal experiences.

8 comments posted

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Today is a very good day - I feel great! Of course this is Friday and Sunday I have to start the steroid treatment, so I am ready for my day of chemo on Monday. OMG  I hate the steroid part! My cousin Beth asked why the steroids. They have found that with breast cancer treatments using the steroid potion  helps protect the lining of  the lungs and the heart.  So today is today and  Sunday  - so be it! I will be ready for Monday and hopefully my last treatment. Living for the moment.  One day at a time.

P.S. I still have not worn the wig! hehe

 My good friend Mitsy and he hubby Steve are in the process of moving into their new home. A perfect little home built about 93 years ago. It has so much character including a wide front porch and a Rookwood Fireplace:)  A great house or should I say home:) Mitsy is so in love with the house!

  • Peter Deamon I'm very impressed with my wife, Susan "Beryl." It has been a very difficult journey for us and she always kept her dignity. She never succumbed to self pity or negativity (And she had a perfect right to) but always kept her head towards recovering from her birthright~ handed down from previous generations. Our future is in God's hands but we have today and maybe tomorrow to enjoy each other...thanks, God!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Walter - New cancer drugs

An experimental cancer drug successfully shrank tumors in patients with different kinds of cancer, including typically hard-to-treat lung cancers, according to a new study. Oncologists said the research was encouraging, but more study was needed to know whether the drug would prolong life for cancer patients.
The study, led by Dr. Suzanne Topalian, was presented today at the Super Bowl of cancer professionals, a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In a small, early phase study, researchers used a drug targeting a portion of the body's immune system, a pathway called PD-1, which usually works to stop the body from fighting cancerous tumors. By shutting down the pathway, the drug stokes the body's immune system to fight tumor cells.
Researchers gave the drug to nearly 240 patients with advanced melanoma, colorectal, prostate, kidney and lung cancers. All the patients had tried up to five other treatments, which failed. After up to two years on the drug, tumors shrank in 26 of 94 patients with melanoma, nine of 33 patients withkidney cancer and 14 of 76 patients with lung cancer.
The drug was not without side effects. About 14 percent of patients in the trial reported conditions such as skin rashes, diarrhea or breathing problems.
Alan Kravitz, 70, took the drug for two years to treat his melanoma, which had been diagnosed in the spring of 2007. He said the drug gave him a sunburn that lasted for two months and some mild fatigue. But the tumors that had spread to his lungs were gone.
"My first CT scans showed that the tumors in my lungs basically disappeared," he said. "It enabled my own immune system to kill the tumors. Quite an amazing drug."
Cancer specialists said the fact that the drug caused tumors to shrink, rather than simply to stop growing, is an important measure of success.
"Traditionally in cancer medicine, a tumor that shrinks is an indication that you're killing the cancer," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology and oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La.
To see that kind of success against several different kinds of cancer, particularly against melanoma, kidney and lung cancers, which are notoriously unresponsive to many of the usual treatments doctors use to thwart them, was also unusual,.
David Grobin, 62, a retired Baltimore police officer, underwent nearly three years of unsuccessful chemotherapy and radiation for his lung cancer before taking the drug in February 2011. Now, he said his tumors hadn't totally disappeared, but they are much smaller than they were.
"How lucky can a person be? This is better than anything that I have had before," Grobin said.
"To see this kind of response in cancers that are so difficult to treat is very encouraging," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
The study did not show whether patients lived longer after taking the drug, but experts said early phases of drug trials typically aren't designed to determine improvements in survival. As scientists study the drug in larger numbers of patients for longer periods of time, the drug's success in prolonging life for cancer patients will become clearer.
Lichtenfeld also noted that early trials of drugs are intended to show whether a drug is safe, and don't usually find impressive numbers of patients who respond to the drug. To see those numbers emerging early in drug trials is encouraging, he said.
The difference in the drug's early success may lie in the approach it takes in delivering targeted cancer therapy. Cancer researchers have been chasing more targeted ways to deliver cancer treatments for decades now, in search of a method more refined than the "slash, burn and poison" approaches available with traditional surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Usually, targeted therapies home in on a particular part of the cancer itself – a particular kind of cell or a process vital to a tumor's survival.
The current drug is a different because it targets the body's own immune system, training it to recognize tumor cells as foreign, malicious agents.
"In spite of everything we've done so far with cancer drugs, chemotherapy and the rest, what could be more powerful than having the body's own immune system attack the cancer?" said Dr. Roy Herbst, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center.
Still, doctors remain cautiously optimistic about the drug's early promise.
"In all new studies, there's usually a lot of optimism and hope, but this should all be tempered with a dose of realism," Brooks said. "What's initially reported may not necessarily pan out with time."
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