This is an important development not just in breast cancer research, but in leading to a new, workable treatment for multiple cancers.
Normally I don’t post articles about new drug or treatment therapies because it gives false hope to desperate people. As soon as some new drug or therapy is mentioned in the press patients or their families flood doctors with questions and requests for the new miracle.
When faced with cancer, people will go to any length. I’ve known people so desperate for a cure they flew to Mexico to juice a type of sea grass in the hope it would do what a medical quack promised. It didn’t.
Over the years I have had numerous doctors from a radical cancer specialist to the leading surgeon in his field tell me there have been improvements in treatment, but no cure. The slogan that ‘cancer can be beaten’ is cruel to the point of misleading.
Which brings me to why I avoid mention of most new drugs and therapies. People who are inflicted need something now. But with anything new in medicine there is a multi-year process in place to test the effectiveness, safety and side-effects. That can take three-to-five years before anything moves from theoretical and experimental to a point where a physician can prescribe it. We don’t want to have another mistake like thalidomide. That time span gets lost or ignored in most medical reporting or is buried in the ‘fine print’.
This finding by Dalhousie University researchers is exciting because it represents a new way of thinking, using existing drugs. I don’t know if that would speed up the approval process, but it’s encouraging to see fresh thinking which, whether it is or isn’t effective for breast cancer, might have applications for other tumours. This could change a lot. BUT, if you are ill or know someone who is, don’t call your doctor just yet.