Posted: October 10, 2013

As someone who saw large number of patients disgruntled with their existing cancer care for second opinions,  Dr. Stark applauds an article in this week’s Journal of Clinical Oncology.  It took German oncologists to do it, but they just published a study in which women with locally advanced breast cancer treated with chemo had their treatment changed right away if it wasn’t working.  He weighs in, “For years I griped in silence at the specter of my colleagues continuing to treat patients after the chemo stopped working.  The Germans decided to do something about it.  In their study, patients whose chemo wasn’t working were switched promptly to new drugs, agents that had no chemical relation to the drugs they were getting.  Because of the way this clinical trial was set up, it was possible to determine the efficacy of this strategy.   Guess what: these patients did much better than those whose ineffective drugs were continued.  This is a breath of fresh air and should be a game changer.  Most oncologists read this journal and if they pay attention they will wise up.”  Click here to see an abstract of this paper.  Dr. Stark can send you the full manuscript; he can’t post it here because of copyright considerations.   He hopes that this paper will spawn a new awareness of the importance of paying attention to how one’s patients are actually doing as day-to-day management depends on this.