Jan 15 2011

Cancer – Cure it or Live With It?

Category: GeneralDave @ 22:51

A friend of mine posted as her Facebook status a link to an article in the Guardian newspaper. The article isĀ  Now this is the introduction written by the Guardian’s editorial staff:


As our population ages, the question is not if we will encounter this illness in our lives, but when. Is it time we stopped fighting and learned to live with it, asks Siddhartha Mukherjee.


It’s an interesting article. I usually like The Guardian editorial writing – but the comment “Is it time we stopped fighting and learned to live with it?” is, to my mind, not a reflection of the original author’s intent. The author never considers stopping fighting it but not attempting to cure it. These are two different things.

The quoted author’s idea – and at first glance, I think, a reasonable one – of not always seeking treatments that will cure a cancer but instead one that will allow the individual to survive, with a good quality of life, whilst the cancer is held in check. This might avoid the draconian treatment regimes often necessary to totally defeat cancer with their concomitant negative effects on the sufferer’s quality of life. These effects are often very hard to live with initially and can have permanent debilitating effects for the remainder of one’s life. Instead, perhaps some less unpleasant interventions will bring the cancer under control and a more-or-less normal life becomes possible.

But wait a minute – that implies taking possibly (probably?) quite expensive drugs for what could be an extended lifetime. Now I wonder what Big Pharma thinks of that?

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