Treating the incurable
Blog Author: Laurie Sehn, MDPosted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 13:31
As an oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, I experience firsthand the ongoing nature of treating patients who are living with incurable forms of cancer. I have developed personal relationships with these patients, seeing them over their lifetimes, celebrating their personal milestones, and watching their families grow.
There has been significant progress in developing treatments over the past few decades, but each time a patient experiences a reoccurrence or their current regimen stops working, physicians need more treatment options at their fingertips.
A few years back, I oversaw the clinical trial of obinutuzumab (Gazyva) for the second-line treatment of follicular lymphoma, the most common—and incurable—form of slow-growing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The patients on the GADOLIN trial had stopped responding to the current standard of care for first-line treatment. Witnessing the hope my patients had from knowing they had another treatment option available was inspiring. It is encouraging that this new option has now been approved by Health Canada and is available to all patients.
We’ve made great progress, but our work still isn’t over. As health care professionals, we are continuing to learn more about incurable blood cancers in order to provide the best care to patients over their lifetime and, hopefully, someday the incurable will be cured.
The phase 3 GADOLIN trial results are published in The Lancet. The article is available for download at www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(16)30097-3/abstract.
—Laurie Sehn, MD
BC Cancer Agency
This posting has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.