According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including women who are still being treated and those who have completed treatment. The quest to cure breast cancer is one in which Dr. George Blumenschein, a prominent oncologist, considers himself lucky to have played a role. Dr. Blumenschein is Professor Emeritus, Oncology and Internal Medicine at the MD Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas.
Dr. Blumenschein is also the author of a new book, Quest for the Cure: Reflections on the Evolution of Breast Cancer Treatment.
This book is devoted to the development of the chemotherapeutic regimens that are currently used to treat patients with advanced breast cancer. Patient histories are presented as case studies meant to illustrate certain issues.
This original fourteen-chapter book is a brief, slightly autobiographic tale of medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and breast cancer patients in a well-established cancer center in Texas, who pursued the goal of cure for breast cancer. The evolution of improved outcomes in the treatment of microscopic metastatic breast cancer is also the story of the development of adjuvant chemotherapy for post-operative breast disease. The adjuvant therapy of breast cancer came about with the realization that this malignancy, when diagnosed in most patients, had spread beyond the confines of the primary cancer.
It is Dr. Blumenschein’s opinion that patient empowerment will become more important in improving treatment outcomes. In an excerpt from the book (pg. 81), he presents the following recommendations for breast cancer patients:
- Do not hesitate to request a second opinion.
- A patient should ask her oncologist about the best route for cure. If the oncologist were in the patient’s place, which treatment would they choose?
- Beware of waiting for a regimen or treatment to reach statistical significance in a clinical trial before accepting it if there is an intellectual pathway or compelling information to move ahead.
- Do not accept truncated or overly simplified regimens that may sacrifice therapeutic efficacy (e.g., FAC-lite).
Finally, it is important for everyone who is involved in the struggle against breast cancer to remember that the goal of treating breast cancer patients is cure. For the time being, all we know is that complete remission is the doorway to cure, and a prolonged complete remission usually is cure.
You can find more information on this book here.
About Dr. George R. Blumenschein
George R. Blumenschein, M.D., led a team of brilliant young researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who established Adriamycin as a mainstay of contemporary breast cancer treatment regimens. This book is intended to empower interested individuals by chronicling the development and explaining the rationale underlying contemporary multimodal breast cancer therapy and by providing illustrative patient histories.