|I've been amusing myself playing with editing on the new iphone. Black-eyed Susans adjacent to my patio. Just ugly brown stalks left now in bleak December|
|ice plant from California trip|
Case in point: last year's mammogram revealed a suspicious lesion that could have been a recurrence or a new primary. It needed to be biopsied. At the same time, I was offered a slot in a clinical trial testing a 3D mammogram that could better visualize this lesion to decide if indeed it was biopsy worthy. It could possibly discover lesions that weren't visible in the standard mammogram (and some cancers just don't show up). Cost to me? An extra 30 minutes and more exposure to radiation though I've been exposed to so much, especially in my treatment, it would be like worrying that peeing in the ocean contribute to the melting of the ice cap. In the statement given to me to sign, it stated there would be no benefit to me whatsoever. Hmmm..not so much of an incentive. I contacted the powers that were to express my concern that this was unethical that they could discover a lesion and not tell me possibly leading to my death. Oh but they would. So there was a benefit and I did it. However I suspect the image revealed that I really did not need the biopsy (that resulted in much anxiety, pain and very high copays) and this was not told to me. I was just a data point to them. I really think it is unethical to collect medical data on a patient and not share that with the patient.
When I first entered the dark world of cancerland, I was asked to sign off on them keeping my tumor for scientific research. I was told that this information would not be shared with me, even if it could help me. Then why would I give them my tumor? To help mankind and other patients making me sound selfish for not wanting to do that. When I sighed and meekly said that this all doesn't seem right, she said that they would just throw the tumor away then if I wanted it. I could have argued but she was just the messenger for what I believe is a very unethical system. I let them keep the tumor in the hope that someday, they see the error of their ways, not likely.
In 1951, a 31 year old African-American woman, Henrietta Lacks, presented with an advanced case of cervical cancer. Cells were taken from her to start the first immortal cancer cell-line still used today called HeLa cells. She and her family did not benefit from these cells, sold over the years. There has been much criticism directed towards these scientists. What is the difference between her case and mine? They did not get informed consent from her. So they have my SuKe cells legally but not ethically IMHO.
I was offered to be in a clinical trial that would possibly prevent recurrence of my cancer. I'd be either be in a placebo arm, an oral arm or the iv arm (which meant monthly infusions for 18 months). They would test my original tumor and collect blood work. None of the info would be shared with me or my doctor. They were also testing a blood test predictive of recurrence..again no sharing with me. Furthermore, if I developed side effects from their drug, it would be up to my insurance to treat me, which I suspect they would balk at. The whole thing seemed highly unethical to me but they found plenty of takers. Meanwhile on my own, I am taking a baby aspirin a day that has prevented recurrence by 50% in a huge metanalysis. The only downside is that it is not helping my stomach lining that had been shredded by the Red Devil.
I did do the chemobrain study because the benefit to me was that I would see my brain. Also they promised to share my individual results, which I have not taken them up on yet. I suspect I learn and memorize things differently than others just because I am so weird. People they excluded from their study? Lefties and depressed people. I snorted when I heard about the latter (and questioned about the former..lefties think differently and would confound their research). Here they were calling newly diagnosed with cancer patients. I suspect they were reaching lots of unhappy people. Her screen for depression? Asking me whether I still found joy in other aspects of my life.
Tomorrow: my annual mammogram. As last year's was such an ordeal, I am not looking forward to it.