Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cancers Dirty Little Secret

Britney Maynard ended her life today. She had battled a stage 4 glioblastoma since her diagnosis in the spring. Britney and her family even moved to Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. While there is no debate about the outcome of her cancer, there is no telling how long she would have lived or what her quality of life would have been.

Britney certainly had every right to make her choice, she was in fact supported by her family. She would like to use her life and death to raise awareness for assisted suicide. Her mission is to make assisted suicide available to all terminally ill patients in every state.  This, I believe, is were she goes wrong. I have been a cancer nurse for more than 12 years and have watched one patient after another die from glioblastoma. Research is a more proactive answer.
Research is health cares dirty little secret; or lack of research. We are the most advanced nation in the world, but our people die getting the same old treatments.
If a child is diagnosed with cancer, they are most frequently treated on a research protocol. This practice has drastically improved the survival rates of some cancers, think 95%. This is not the case with adult cancer patients. Adult cancer patients don't want to be the "guinea pig." This makes it difficult to fill and complete research studies. Many times in a study you may only need to fill out a survey, donate blood or be treated with the standard of care.
God bless Britney Maynard and her family. In her honor, enroll in a medical research study.
If you are a female nurse, please enroll in the nurses health study. Here is the link, If you are not a female nurse, ask your doctor.

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