Some families cannot afford the drugs that have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
It has been estimated that yearly average people need to spend up to $171,000. This can be devastating for some cancer patients. However, only a few of these have been proven to have positive effect, which is even more devastating and discouraging.
Why are these things happening to us? – this is the question asked by most of the Americans. We do not have the real and legitimate answers even though a lot of research has been done on this particular subject. This leaves the cancer patients hopeless.
The Drug Approval Done by the FDA
Before they can move on to testing it on humans, drug companies are obliged to first test any potential drug on animal subjects. In order to test its safety and effectiveness they need to do that process.
If they receive positive results from the tests done on animals, they proceed to test the potential drug on humans. Extending the life expectancy of cancer could be such an effect.
It is first required to send the test results to the FDA so they can be reviewed before a drug company can sell its new drug on the market. Everything goes through the CDER (Center for Drug Evaluation and Research).
CDER has to make sure that the brand name and generic drugs work as they should. It also makes sure that there are not any serious health risks involved. However, this drug center does not do any tests other than tests for effectiveness and quality of the drug.
The results have a high chance of being completely unbiased due to the professional team composed of chemists, physicians, pharmacologists and statisticians the CDER offers. The drug is safe to sell when the CDER approves. With this the drug also receives its approval from the FDA.
How Effective is Chemotherapy?
People choose to treat themselves with chemotherapy but they often use other treatments for cancer. In order to know just how useful chemo can be, one Australian research team chose to discover the true answers.
They wanted to know the surviving chances of the cancer patients who chose to treat themselves with chemo therapy.
Unfortunately, you have a small chance of surviving and beating cancer if you are only undergoing chemotherapy. Your chances of surviving in particular are 5 years.
This information was taken from USA and Australia data from 1990-2004. When it comes to just chemotherapy, when one compares it to Australia’s 60% survival chances, it is significantly low 2 percent.
However, keep in mind that the results varied depending on the type of cancer in question and the stage the cancer patient was in. The survival rate was only 1 percent in stomach cancer, while there was an astounding difference of 41.8 percent in cases of testicular cancer.
This happens because some types of cancer react more easily to chemo than others. The five cancers more sensitive to chemo are: Hodgkin’s disease, cervix, ovary, testis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The result from 1998 showed that for these five, the survival rate of 5 years is soley due to cytotoxic chemotherapy and it is 14 percent. What is the conclusion from all of this?
Chemotherapy can be effective by itself in some cases. When it comes to chemo-sensitive cancers, chemo therapy is especially effective.
However, the results from 1998 in Australia indicate that only 8.4 percent were able to achieve that and you need to keep that in mind.
It’s Not Like There’s a Shortage of Chemo Side-Effects
It is a fact that chemotherapy has its fair share of difficulties and side effects whether on a physical or emotional level.
As soon as the treatment is finished, some of these may go away. However, you may experience the side effects of chemotherapy for months, years or for the rest of your life.
You may experience the following complications:
- Hair loss
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in appetite
- Changes on the skin and nails (excess dryness or pigmentation)
- Easy bleeding and bruising
- Damage to healthy cells (this usually occurs in the gut, reproductive system, mouth, hair follicles and bone marrow)
- Changes in urine and kidney problems
- Lowered libido and fertility issues
- Problems in the mouth, tongue or throat ( sores and difficulties while swallowing)
- Muscle and nerve problems (pain, tingling and numbness)
According to dr. Jones, people who refuse to undergo chemotherapy live on an average 12 and a half years longer. People who chose to treat themselves with chemotherapy usually die within three years of diagnosis.
Unfortunately, only after a few weeks of treatment many of the cancer patients die. This is really devastating.
FDA and Its Approval of Cancer Drugs
The officials of the FDA do not seem to have anything against the lack of current evidence when it comes to survival improvement even though the FDA approved the potential chemotherapy or cancer drugs.
According to the director of FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, dr. Richard Pazdur, cancers grow at both slow and quick rates. It takes more time for some studies to find out whether a specific drug improves the chances of longer survival because of the varied speeds of growth.
However, the FDA chooses to put the potential drugs in the market because it wants the patients to be able to benefit from them as soon as possible. That is the reason why they rush with the approval without knowing too much information.
It is very risky, right? Since most cancer patients do not have that long to live, it is a risk they are ready to take. Even though it is hard to hear, this is the horrible truth. However, according to dr.
Jones you can extend the lives of patients by years instead of just months with the newer and more directed treatments. You can stimulate the immune system of cancer patients with the immunotherapy.
In order to achieve natural combatting of cancer cells doctors advise you to try this. These immunotherapy drugs have contributed to the increase of survival chances from 5 percent to as much as 30-40 percent in patients with advanced melanoma.
Something like this might not seem so significant when one looks at the big picture but according to dr.
Richard Schilsky, the senior vice president and chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, there is no undermining the progress made so far.
A lot of people were concerned about these immunotherapy drugs, and they had a good reason for that.
Here are Some Statistics
Chemotherapy is almost always the first option for metastasized cancers. However, many people combine chemotherapy with other types of treatment.
There are certain factors that one needs to take into consideration if one chooses to undergo chemotherapy by itself.
You need to take the following things into consideration:
- Type of cancer
- The health status of the individual
- Past medical history In a detailed review on June 2016 from the Cancer Journal for Clinicians, you can see the recent studies done on cancer therapies and survival statistics across the USA.
In a detailed review on June 2016 from the Cancer Journal for Clinicians, you can see the recent studies done on cancer therapies and survival statistics across the USA. The SEER Program and the NCDB (The National Cancer Data Base) are the two sources for this data.
The various methods and combinations used for treatment and the data on comparing specific cancer types worth nothing. There is a reported improvement in survival rates particularly in the case of breast cancer.
Chemotherapy, targeted drugs and hormone therapy are the factors that need to be thanked for that. However, the increased awareness also helps because it leads to earlier detection and the widespread use of mammography.
When it comes to the general five-year survival rate for female breast cancer patients there has been improvement in the last three decades.
The five-year, ten-year and fifteen-year breast cancer survival rates are 89 percent, 83 percent and 78 percent, for the sake of being more specific.
Here are Some Helpful Graphs
This graph shows the female cancer treatments divided by which stage the cancer has reached.
And this is for bladder cancers, also following the division of treatment patterns
As for the treatment patterns of Nonsmall cell lung cancer
The range of available treatments is plain to see thanks to these graphs and statistics. Depending on the type of cancer they also help us to see that there are different types of chemo reactions.
It also allows us to understand and see that usually there needs to be a combination of treatments , not only chemotherapy.
Fort cancer patients the quality of life is also important
It is amazing to think that as of the first of January, 2016 the United States has had over 15 ½ million cancer survivors. There are predictions that by 2026 the US will have had over 20 million according to research.
To make sure cancer patients have a high-quality life during and after their treatment is one of the main objectives of the American Cancer Society’s Facts and Figures (2016-2017) There are many things to keep in mind when we start considering just what a high-quality life is:
- Psychological (or emotional) health
- Physical health
- Spiritual health
- Social health There is no universal definition about the quality off life since it can vary from person to person. For comparison we can offer you these statistics:
- About 25 percent of those who survived cancer reported a lowered quality of life because of physical issues.
- The same thing happened in 10 percent but they experienced emotional issues.
- Cancer survivors for over 5 years have reported having an emotional health similar to those who have never had cancer
- Lower physical health compared to those who have never had cancer was noticed in many cancer survivors for over 5 years.
- Lower quality of life overall is noticed in those who have gone through more aggressive and invasive therapies and treatments.
The FDA can make sure to remove one from the market whose side effects overshadow the benefits as it can approve a certain chemotherapy drugs.
However, sometimes the cancer patients are not concerned about the side effects. They are usually upset at the little extra time they are given.
After all wee still have hope. We have immuno therapy as an effective drug against this horrible disease.
Technology and medicine also move forward. These new and improved drugs may very well lengthen the lives of patients to a great extent even though they do not necessarily cure cancer.