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Long term side-effects - Sicko

Posted Sep 12 2008 10:34am

Rob posted here about his, and his spouse Lauren´s fears, about the possibility of a relapse of their son´s leukaemia. They/Fergus have just finished three years of chemotherapy.

As Rob eloquently expressed, we wait to see if “the other shoe drops”. The medical authorities say wait for five year “Event Free Survival”.

I have previously posted here.

An anxious five years methinks – no active treatment. A monthly blood test to check counts are ok. And every “normal” childhood infection will send us into panic mode. A five years that will perhaps be worse than the first two/three years when at least we could see active administration of treatment. Five years of watch and wait …

Our consultant, John, has intimated that, if all goes well, Kezia should, at the very least, go back for testing every year until she reaches puberty.

Today I come across a review of an article by staff at the St Jude Children’s ResearchCenter, one of the foremost paediatric cancer research institutions in the world. “ The cumulative incidence of secondary malignancy was … 10.85% at 30 years ”. Shit.

But that is a study of ALL patients from 1962 to 1998. That is a study when radiotherapy was a normal prophylactic treatment …

Because the current treatment protocol for ALL … no longer calls for prophylactic crania or craniospinal irradiation, the long-term risk of secondary neoplasms is expected to decrease ”.

Good. But …

These results suggest that lifelong follow-up of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia survivors is needed to ascertain the full impact of treatment and other leuakaemia-related factors on secondary neoplasm development ”.

Fine.

Who is going to pay?

I had a conversation with an American about medical insurance last week. He´s fine. His family is fine. He even had colon cancer and needed surgery … and the insurance company paid. But he had been in the military and now works for the Federal Government … his ex- and present employer pay his and his family´s medical insurance.

And he is grateful - as he said, if you're self-employed, once cancer has been diagnosed, you´ve a fat chance of getting insurance.

Kezia, Africa, risk rate increased cos she´s African ...

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