The Video Journal of Hematological Oncology has posted a short (2 minutes) video of Dr. Nathan Fowler from MD Anderson Cancer Center, commenting on indolent lymphomas (like Follicular Lymphoma), and I thought it was worth linking to. You can find the video here. It's one of those videos that doesn't really say anything new, but it says those things in a really, really hopeful way.
Dr. Fowler did a presentation at ASH on the history of chemotherapy in lymphoma, so he looked at about 40 years or so of treatments, and how they have changed.
"Most patients," he says, "will never die of Follicular Lymphoma." Median survival of low-grade Follicular Lymphoma is "around 18 to 20 years," according to Dr. Fowler. If the average age of diagnosis is 61 years old, then that puts the average patient pretty close to general population in terms of survival. (Of course, those are statistics, and individual patients will all have different experiences.) Patients can treat the disease more like a chronic illness, being managed over their lifetimes.
He also points out that this means oncologists will need to pay more attention to long-term toxicity, how many courses of treatment the patient gets, and the financial burden that treatment will place on them. If you treat it as a manageable chronic illness, then it can't cost too much, and it can't do more damage than it fixes.Quality of life is going to matter if it's going to be a long life.
Dr. Fowler also mentions some newer treatments like R-squared and Ibrutinib, and check point inhibitors, and "they might ultimately lead to a cure, or at least prolonged remissions."
He ends with, "So it's exciting."
I always love to hear smart people talk about the things they excite them (especially when those exciting things affect my health).
It's a short video, but a good one. Watch it now, and save it for a day when you could use a little injection of hope.