Friday, November 2, 2012

The Cure versus Control Discussion

As noted in a previous post, I participated in a panel hostel by CureTalk during which we discussed the issue of cure versus control in Myeloma treatment.  My fellow panelists (Jack Aiello, Gary Petersen and Pat Killingsworth) and I discussed a number of questions, including the following:
  • Right now, there are two possible therapies that might “cure” select patients; donor transplants and Total Therapy. My question is this: From a patient’s perspective, are either of these intensive therapy options worth the small risk of a possible cure?
  • What does “quality of life” mean to you? How poorly would you have to feel before deciding to stop a therapy that might significantly extend your life? and
  • Specifically, if you were given the option of living five years relatively drug free, or six years using aggressive maintenance therapy all six years- complete with a long list of side effects – which would you chose and why?
It's worth noting that Jack, Gary and I all took issue with the phrasing of the last question -- because to us it's not a choice of five years with minimal treatment versus six years with extensive treatment.  We viewed it as five years versus ten or twenty.  And even then, the choice is not cut and dry.

You can listen to the 60 minute broadcast here.

It's interesting to note that there seems to be a general feeling of the tide turning in terms of awareness that Total Therapy has the potential to cure many newly diagnosed patients.