Friday, July 04, 2008

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0952 - Profiling Treatment Options

"When patients know more, everyone benefits." - NexCura

The American Cancer Society has an interesting treatment profiler tool available for a number of cancers. In my case, the profiler I'm interested in is the colorectal cancer type: recurrent.

Liver resection is clearly the standard for the best prognosis for 5-year survival rates - 25-40%. But there are many conditions required to be considered a candidate for liver resection treatment:

  • no evidence of metastatic disease other than the liver

  • the primary tumor site must be completely controlled

  • no major structures in the liver may be involved (hepatic artery, major bile ducts, and the portal vein) or even close to the lesions

  • there must be enough healthy liver remaining to function normally

  • the patient must be able to tolerate the surgical stress

So, clearly, I have a lot of questions to ask the oncologist next week about my eligibility for liver resection. But apart from that option, there are other treatment possibilities, including:

  • hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) chemotherapy: drugs delivered directly into the liver, usually through a catheter and a surgically implanted pump

  • radiofrequency ablation: using heat to destroy tumors, usually under general anesthesia during day surgery

  • microwave coagulation: ultra high-speed microwaves delivered through a probe in cutting and cauterizing the tumor

  • novel radiation techniques and delivery systems: such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), Extracranial Stereotactic Radiosurgery, and Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT)

  • clinical trials

In other words, it gets very complicated very quickly.

While I appreciate the information Nexcura provides through the American Cancer Society's web site in its Treatment Options Report, this is only a first step. It's about gathering some useful information to be prepared when the oncologists start talking about least I hope they talk about options!

But this weekend, after this bit of research, I think I'll take a break and watch the Wimbledon finals and some more CFL action.

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