Mike Marqusee’s Article, “I don’t need a war to fight my cancer (Dec. 31)” provides an insight into the psyche of a cancer patient. A couple of points regarding cancer treatment deserve mention. The good news for cancer patients is that treatment is increasingly becoming target-specific from what was a “mass-kill” earlier, with the discovery of several cancer cell sensitising techniques. Priming the cancer cells by chemo or immuno modulators helps localise the destructive effects of ablation to the affected areas alone. The bad news is that financial considerations still play a major role in the array of expensive investigations and treatments suggested for advanced disease beyond the stage of cure. Palliative treatments for pain relief and alleviation of suffering which assume prime importance in a terminal disease are often ignored and left to the domain of traditional treatments or, at times, even to quacks.
The well known adage of the medical profession, “If you cannot do good, at least do no harm,” is rarely followed in respect of cancer patients.
Sunil P. Shenoy,