Perhaps you’ve heard that the land of the free is battling serious drug shortages.
So far in 2023, we’ve seen a shortage of infant formula, antibiotics, and now—cancer drugs.
People want to know HOW and WHY. And I quite understand.
If you’re affected by the newest cancer drug shortage, let’s talk about what you can do next…
Keep your head up and your options open
I’ve always encouraged you to ask lots of questions, no matter your treatment plan.
Because far too often, oncologists follow old-fashioned, “cookbook” recipes for everyone in their practice diagnosed with your type and stage of cancer.
Well, this drug shortage could mean that it’s time for you to take a step back and re-evaluate.
Is your current treatment actually tailored to your individual cancer type, personal goals, and health concerns?
After all, studies suggest increased survival time isn’t’ the only concern for people diagnosed with the big C. Most patients expect to maintain their quality of life and reach personal goals before they consider a treatment to be truly successful.
If that sounds like you—and your current drug wasn’t hitting the mark—talk to your doctor about developing a personalized approach. That’s what precision medicine is all about!
Treatment can be individualized
Now, there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to cancer. And as I mentioned, your type and stage of cancer are important parts of the equation.
But we’re at least finally getting to the point where cancer treatment CAN be tailored and individualized.
Functional profiling of patients’ own cancer cells, in particular, holds a tremendous amount of promise for ending the barbaric approach to oncology we’ve relied on for far too long. And while these tests might not be commonplace in the U.S. just yet, they are out there for patients who want them.
So, ask if there are any biomarker or genomic tests for your cancer type. These use tumor analysis to gauge the cancer’s aggressiveness.
They can even tell you how responsive it will likely be to drug therapy, which is crucial information to help guide treatment decisions—especially if you’re already relying on a drug.
In fact, knowing about your biomarkers can even spare you from undergoing unnecessary treatments! (They can also help you find suitable clinical trials, as some enroll people based on their cancer biomarkers.)
The bottom line is this: You have options. So, try not to get too caught up in the frenzy caused by these drug shortages.
Instead, I hope it empowers you to ask questions, develop a personalized treatment plan, and take bigger steps forward in your journey.
“Cancer drugs among top 5 most affected by shortages in the US.” CNN, 05/11/2023. (cnn.com/2023/05/11/health/chemo-drug-shortages/index.html)