Friday, April 10, 2009

All triple negative tumors are not created equal..

An on-going frustration I have with the whole cancer experience is how little is known (by me at least) about my tumor's characteristics. At a presurgical check-up, I signed away the rights to my tumor for "research purposes". If I did not, it would be thrown in the medical waste can or if I insisted, I could take it home with me to torture or put it on display. Hey, wanna see my tumor? I asked if this research would benefit me? The nurse coldly looked at me and said No but it might benefit mankind. It bothers me that some researcher has part of my tumor somewhere checking out all these factors and waiting to see if I live or die so I could be included in some research paper. To me, it seems unethical that they MIGHT have some info about my prognosis that they aren't sharing with me. True, there might not be anything I could do about this info but maybe I could.When I worked on a cancer project many years ago, one of our screens were to test compounds of interest against L1210 cells named from Linda, the leukemia patient who had long ago died but her cells lived on. Maybe someday, there will be a strain of SRK cells.

Today I found two papers of possible interest to TNBC patients. The first is that there is a commerical company ready to market a test to see if your tumor will be killed by Taxol. Of the 94 TNBC tumors, they predicted accurately that half would be wiped out by Taxol. The tumors they predicted would not be helped by Taxol indeed largely were not. See:

Of course it would be depressing to hear that Taxol won't do you a bit of good, which brings me to paper number 2:
Apparently tumors themselves have stem cells-a theory developed here at UM. If the tumor itself is comprised of stem cells, it is very resistant to chemo and/or radiation and will probably spread. I suspect a good portion of these theoretical stem cell tumors are TNBC. But now, they found something that kills these tumors, a reovirus that allegedly is harmless otherwise. So as a last resort, patients could be infected with this virus-their stem cell tumors killed and everyone lives happily ever after.

This reminds me of a movie I saw a few months ago I am Legend. Naomi had warned me that this movie was very sad as SPOILER ALERT a very cute German Shepherd looking just like Sunny is killed. The premise of the movie is, get this, a cure for breast cancer is developed using what is thought to be a harmless virus but, no it isn't harmless. If one is infected with it, one turns into a flesh eating zombie and quickly everyone is infected except Will Smith who is feverishly trying to find a cure.

I lost 3 bottom eye lashes today. Sounds petty, doesn't it but this represents a good portion of what I have left. And to put a cherry on a shit sundae, a radiation machine was down so I waited with boring, unfriendly patients for an hour for my treatment today.

I am sore due to muscle overuse from the weight machines yesterday. I have trying to wean myself from Prilosec as I am almost out but then heartburn returned with a vengence. This I blame on the Red Devil. I asked the rad onc for it and was told No even though it would take 2 secs to write one. Maybe she thinks I'm copping scripts from all my docs so I can have one big Prilosec party.


Lisa L said...

Hi - you can get prilosec over the counter...nothing worse than heartburn...

S. F. Heron said...

Sue, I'm still on my antacids and do plan on taking them for awhile. I get horrendous hiccups whenever I eat. Thanks to the red devil. Gte more at the pharmacy and tell the onc to shove it.

:) Hugs!


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