Surviving Cancer will touch ALL of us in some way….
- 40% of the population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.
- There are already 20 Million cancer survivors in the US alone – and increasing as drug efficacy improves.
Existing cancer therapies are beneficial and lifesaving – they have given a future to hundreds of millions of patients.
However, with new research and focus we can help survivors by working to decrease the negative impact of these treatments on quality of life and increase the potential for patients to benefit from this critical therapy. The needs are real:
- Depending on the type of therapy, between 30% and 60% of patients – tens of millions of people worldwide - will experience severe adverse health effects associated with their treatment. These effects can make it difficult or impossible to stay on the therapy and/or may impact quality of life during treatment or in the months and years following. In some cases, the effects can be life-threatening. See this New York Times piece from December 2015.
- Nearly 1/3 of children who successfully battle cancer will have serious adverse health impacts from the therapy that appear many years after treatment, and more than half will have some type of negative effect. See this December 2015 article in Washington Post.
- According to a recent paper, as many as 50% of patients receiving some types of immunotherapy will experience a severe immune response requiring them to stop that line of therapy.
- As many as one in four breast cancer patients are forced to reduce their dose or stop receiving chemotherapy (temporarily or permanently) because of unsafe or intolerable side effects (e.g., peripheral neuropathy). Survivors of breast cancer who have received radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy have elevated rates of cardiovascular (heart) problems.
“The paradigm for what defines a successful cancer cure must be expanded to go beyond just 5-year cancer event-free survival. It must balance oncologic efficacy and the toxicity and late effects of cancer and its therapies as measured by the quality of life over a lifespan to the patient their family. We must better understand these toxicities and late effects of cancers and their therapies for this first generation of a large number of survivors. Only by understanding these complications may they be prevented or ameliorated. This is why the THRIVE program is essential to promote the discovery of cancer therapy safety or toxicity signals." Steven Lipshultz, MD, FAAP, FAHA, Pediatrician-In-Chief at Children's Hospital of Michigan and member of the THRIVE Advisory Board.
THRIVE will help improve quality of life for cancer survivors through innovative research and community building.
THRIVE will help enhance the efficacy of existing drugs by helping to develop new ways to predict and protect patients most at risk of serious negative effects.
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