It’s 2015 and people are still dying of cancer. Just this past week, several people have commented on the loss of a loved one to cancer. I thought it would be a chronic disease by now, didn’t you? Or like polio – some treacherous disease that our grandparents talk about?
But… there is hope on the horizon. Many promising studies have been released lately, some funded by the American Cancer Society.
Many people who face colon cancer succumb to the disease because it has spread to their liver. Before, there was not much to be done about the liver other than palliative care because the metastasis in the liver was too deep inside the organ to get to.
Now, researchers have tried a new technique that offers hope where there was none before. Laparoscopy surgery is performed and the liver is ablated for 90 seconds. After ten minutes, the surgeons go further into the liver, directly into the affected parts and remove what is left of the lesions/tumors. For the ten patients who volunteered for the study, mets were completely cleared in nine of the patients.
What does this mean? A disease that once was tough to beat once is spread is now beatable. Wow!!!
A teenager (yep, a smart-aleck teenager) decided he had had enough with pancreatic cancer. He devised a simple test that could detect pancreatic cancer at the earliest stages – offering hope where there was none before. Since most pancreatic cancer is detected at Stage 3 or 4 due to its silent symptoms, this is positively encouraging. It’s hoped that this test will be available to the public within the next 12 months.
Lung cancer has had many advances as well. Because of genetic testing, it is now possible to “type” the specific lung cancer and apply other methods of chemotherapy and radiation that weren’t available just a few years ago.
There are several people in our area who have undergone Cyber Knife radiation. This type of radiation, offered in the St. Louis area, allows a radiologist to pinpoint a laser beam of radiation to within millimeters of where the tumor is located. By doing this, other organs and surrounding tissue is not damaged. Another huge upside of this type of radiation is downtime is significantly reduced so that the patient can get back to living – which is the point of undergoing radiation in the first place.
Please continue to support Relay for Life in the coming weeks. Many fundraisers are in the works (Quarter Auctions, BBQ’s, quilt raffles, etc.) and the cure for cancer lies with YOU! Wouldn’t it be great to think that your $25 donation to a fundraiser is the exact amount needed to fund a research project that put an end to cancer once and for all?
Relay for Life is Saturday, April 25 at Nashville Primary School. You can find out more info on Facebook at “WashCo Relay for Life” or on the web at www.relayforlife.org.