Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Treatment advances and changes

As in the proverbial Ginzu knife commercials, "but wait, there's more!" But what if isn't more, there is less? We are always hearing about the newest medical treatment protocol. You have already been through 8,937 treatment protocols and have acquired a second bedside table to contain your prescription bottles and have set up a third spreadsheet to manage them. And then your doctor says, again, for the 8,938th time 'there has been a new treatment protocol - and I would like you to try one of these once a day. Its a new medication and should help you.' You have heard this again and then head to the pharmacy to visit your friends at the prescription pick up counter and pick up another vial of pills. Blah, blah, blah.

But what if your doctor said 'take this instead of these other six prescriptions'. You mean less is better? Is this possible? But sometimes it is. It is a different way of thinking in the medical world. But sometimes it seems they forgot what they told us before.

Think of it this way, for decades doctors told women with a breast cancer diagnosis, they clear path for survival was a radical mastectomy where all under arm lymph nodes were removed before chemotherapy (and I don't even want to think about this surgery 100 years ago - scary). Now they break it out into two steps - lumpectomy or mastectomy and check the sentinel node or two under the patients arm. If the nodes are negative, no more digging for radical surgery is needed. Less risk of long term complications.

Well whoop-di-doo. Less can be more. But the problem I have with this is that the story ran in today's newspaper as if it was news. I don't understand what is so new about it as it is the treatment protocol that I had 3.5 years ago. Was there some new news or new research that was just released that reinforces what has been going on for several years now? Or has the rest of the world just figured out that less is more? Call me confused for the day

1 comment:

recovery said...

good post, you can call me confused as well. I think the truth is that sometimes the doctors don't know themselves what's going on, but they have to pretend for the sake of all.