In August, the Former US President announced that he had an advanced pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment. A few days ago, he admitted that he is now free of cancer.
The former president has been treated with a melanoma drug that aims to boost the immune system, known as pembrolizumab. In the US, the drug costs around $150,000.
It was also last year when Senator Miriam Santiago announced that she had a stage-4 lung cancer prompting her to take a leave of absence in the Senate to undergo treatment. She, too, had beaten cancer with this type of drug.
What does this mean to the medical community?
For cancer physicians, it’s no longer about the age of the patient. Rather, it’s also about the patient’s overall health condition.
Even if the patient is old enough to receive cancer treatment but if he/she is doing well, cancer physicians will not hesitate to prescribe him/her with this type of treatment.
With these new therapies, anyone can well-tolerate them and can offer significant benefits.
When the former president underwent a surgical operation to remove a tumor on his liver, his doctors saw a lesion in that organ. Later, it was found that it was melanoma.
His doctors opted to use the gold standard treatment for cancer. But they also added a new immunotherapy drug to his long list of cancer treatments. Pembrolizumab was just approved by the FDA in 2014.
The cancer drug used by the former president was off-label in melanoma because it was only approved to be used for patients who underwent other therapies, but all of them failed. But several studies around the country showed amazing success of this drug in patients of all ages. What is great is that it causes fewer side effects.
In addition to the drug, hope is also a factor that allows the former president to survive in this ordeal. Hope is essential for cancer patients. They have to accept their faith and move on.
With the announcement of the Former US President Jimmy Carter, it truly gives hope to cancer patients. It didn’t only put his deadly disease on the spotlight but is also raises awareness of new immune therapies.
Unfortunately, the cancer drug is too expensive for ordinary people to bear, especially in the Philippines.
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