Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Plan Finalized

11:30am, each day starting on Thursday (unless he can't get the plan completed by then, in which case it will be Monday).  Still expect 3-4 weeks of daily treatment.

I think Meagan gets how this is a positive development in quality of life and not merely life extension. I don't think she realized that spinal tumors don't really cause end of life, although they can eventually, when they grow so much they impinge on the nerves going to vital organs. More typically, spinal column tumors lead to compression of the spinal cord, which causes pain (a lot) and usually loss of bodily functions below the areas involved. The presence of the tumors and cancer in the epidural space means the cancer is fully active in the spinal column and central nervous system (including the brain, which we knew). So when you can't treat the spinal column tumors, and you suffer the debilitating effects they cause, it usually means that when they emerge in other parts of the spinal column and brain, you decline further treatment, because you are extending life, but at a greatly reduced quality.

So this Tomo Therapy is fantastic news. It is a means of control of the tumors. If we can zap tumors we can keep her quality of life high and gain life extension. It is worth treating further brain tumors and other tumors. They can use the Tomo Therapy on other parts of the spinal column if necessary (but you only get one shot at each area - due to toxic radiation overload concerns). Between that and the Cyberknife, the radiologists have a pretty good arsenal to control the central nervous system tumors, as long as they emerge in a localized and smaller way. This technology development is really amazing. Yes, it is expensive. Yes, it makes our overall health care costs go up. But who would not want to have this treatment now that it is available?

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