The past eighteen months have turned our worlds upside down, dramatically altering how we live, work, and socially connect. Those of us who have remained healthy throughout the pandemic consoled ourselves with the knowledge that our lives would return to some semblance of normalcy once infection rates waned. Cancer patients have no such assurances. They face the daunting possibility that their treatments may not yield success; that their hope or faith alone must sustain them as they traverse the unknowns that loom ahead.
It is not just length of life that is critical to cancer patients. Their quality of life is equally at stake. While targeted therapies have significantly reduced side effects for many patients, aggressive cancers require more toxic treatments that patients sometimes decide to forego.
In fact, a literature review of 30 articles comparing quality versus length of life revealed that many cancer patients choose quality over length. In one such study, 55 percent of patients with advanced cancers placed equal value on quality and length of life when weighing both options. When required to commit to a preference, 80 percent chose quality of life.
It is incumbent upon the pharmaceutical industry to help alleviate this painstaking choice. We can do so by developing new therapies that aim to support and protect patients throughout cancer treatment, not just aim drugs at the cancer target and accept the collateral damage as unavoidable.
Toward that end, in 2021 the FDA approved a medication designed to help protect patients with small-cell lung cancer against one of the harmful side effects of chemotherapy: bone marrow damage, or myelosuppression. While this is but one drug in a growing arsenal of supportive care therapies, it is an important step toward incorporating the voices of patients into our cancer treatment paradigm.
G1 Therapeutics, Inc.
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