Tuesday, July 31, 2007

NY Times Article & Calling All Survivors

President Bush had a colonoscopy last week and 5 polyps were removed. [LINK]. For those playing along at home a polyp in your colon is how cancer starts. Most polyps remain benign but cancer ALWAYS starts from a polyp so as a precaution they are removed every time they're found. The tissue can then be analysed and tested. Cancerous polyps are Colon Cancer Stage I in laymans terms.

This past Sunday the NY Times had huge article on cancer in the US entitled "Cancer Patients, Lost in a Maze of Uneven Care". This is a big article that follows mainly the story of a new-mother, Karen Pasqualetto, 35 years old. Days after giving birth she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer with mets to her liver, the same disease as my Karen. I won't bore you with the details but basically she's doing ok now, managing recurrences as a long-term (chronic) illness.

The story talks a lot about the level of care which patients are receiving, most of it being sub-par. Some patients are dismissed with palliative care options (read "we'll treat you until you die") or denied surgery, or approved and then denied upon further review. Some patients miss the surgery window when their tumors are smallest purely due to scheduling conflicts. Others don't receive the correct or full regime of chemo drugs. Others see only a local oncologist with little to no experience in the exact cancer you're facing. Others are not covered by insurance. Others have insurance which doesn't include the best doctors in their location. Others miss entry to clinical trials based on availability or lack of awareness. The list goes on and on. For an elderly person (most colon cancer occcurs above 50) the myriad of things to follow up on can lead to missed opportunities which ultimately can be deadly.

Even though we are confident, 100% confident in fact, that we are receiving the best care available, we continue to research the disease and treatment options as much as we can.

If you are a cancer survivor or know someone who is, it would be very useful to get annecdotal references to surgeons specializing in Colon Cancer and Liver Resection within the tri-state area (or beyond). You can contact us using the following link [LINK].

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