Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Traveling for cancer treatment

Yesterday while packing wasting time I was watching the local news. It included a story about a first grade teacher who has cancer and needs to go overseas for treatment. She has some kind of liver cancer and has run out of treatment options. In the video she says she is going to Germany for PRRT treatment which costs $100,000. As it is not yet FDA approved, she must pay out of pocket for it.

I was intrigued so I did a little research. The treatment she needs is PRRT or Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy and is for people who have run out of treatment options with certain cancers. Sounds reasonable.

And of course I have a 'but' to go alone with this. The first article I found on it said there is a Level 3 Clinical Trial going on for it in the US and in certain parts of Europe. Then I went on clinicaltrials.gov and found more trials for it in the US, including ones for gastrointestinal tumors and lymphomas and more. I realize that to be eligible for a clinical trial you need to meet certain criteria. So maybe the teacher doesn't meet the requirements for one of the trials.

But if she can participate in a clinical trial, why does she need to pay for treatment? Wouldn't that make more sense than raising money herself (and through her students and other people she knows)?

I am not a big proponent of traveling overseas for treatment that does not yet have FDA approval. (Do you remember the people who went to Mexico for laetrile treatment in the 1970s?) Yes there is the thought that if you are told there are no more treatment options for you wouldn't you want to try anything? But maybe exploring more local options might be a good start.

I could be showing my cynical side again....

2 comments:

Unknown said...

She wants to be sure she gets real treatment. In trials you don't know if you get the treatment or placebo drug. My coworker went through that.

Unknown said...

She wants to be sure she gets real treatment. In trials you don't know if you get the treatment or placebo drug. My coworker went through that.