Here is my high-level treatment plan.
1) Xalkori (crizotinib)
- This is a ‘targeted therapy‘ that is designed to attack only the cancerous cells. I’m able to try this because my cancer tested ALK+.
- My oncologist feels there is a 70% chance that I will respond to this treatment. YAY!
- I must respond well enough (shrinking the cancer) and tolerate the side effects for this to be considered successful.
- We will try this for 4 weeks before determining whether or not it has been successful.
- If it is successful (paws crossed), I will take this pill as long as it continues to be effective in controlling my cancer. This could be 3 years, for example.
- If Xalkori does not control my cancer or I cannot tolerate the side effects, I will have chemotherapy (actual drugs to be determined).
- We have not discussed this in detail because there is a very good chance option 1 will work.
- My oncologist feels there is a 20% chance that chemotherapy would provide enough control.
3) Clinical Trials
- If chemotherapy does not control my cancer, I would then be eligible for a new clinical trial already in progress for ALK+ lung cancer.
- The good news is that science will continue to develop and refine these treatments, and there are many things for me to try in the foreseeable future.