. : Christine Ransom
Having remained in a specialty for so many years has given me the gift of living the evolution of cancer care over the past 40 years. The book “The Emporer of all Maladies” by Siddhartha Mukherjie was such a fascinating read for me as I could recall the various drug therapies that came to be such as Gleevac and how it revolutionalized CML; Herceptin for Her 2 positive breast cancer and ritux in lymphoma; new targeted therapies for renal cancer and other life saving treatments. This book so aptly described the challenges for oncologists and cancer team members in this very complex specialty of medicine. I have also witnessed my sister-in-law survive treatment and transplantation for ALL; watched her manage the long term side effects with such grace. Excellence in care now provides support to patients in the outpatient setting and for us in the interior the monthly interdisciplinary bone marrow out patient clinics has been a huge service.
Many of the standard drug cocktails administered back then are still being used. AC and FEC for breast cancer; carbo/taxol for ovarian cancer; CHOP in lymphoma; ABVD for hodgkins; chlorambucil, 5FU, methotrexate have been around for a long time; to name a few. However, what used to be a relatively few number of protocols has exploded into over 350 treatment regimens. This has afforded multi lines of therapies which keep lives extended and often suffering alleviated. I remember the days of nursing patients with distressing bowel obstructions; terrible suppurating breast wounds, cord compressions in prostate and renal cancer patients prior to the very important role of palliative chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
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