Ray (M578) is a restaurant owner in Indonesia. In December 2007, at the age of 53, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He underwent a radical nephrectomy. After the surgery, Ray was well and life was back to normal again. About seven years later, the cancer recurred in his lungs. Ray was put on Sutent and suffered severe intolerable side effects. Ray totally stopped taking Sutent.
The oncologist suggested a new oral drug, Afinitor (everolimus) which has yet to be approved for use by the Malaysian Government. This drug cost RM 1,000 per tablet, meaning a month’s supply costs RM30,000 (as opposed to Sutent which costs RM 18,000 per month).
Ray suffered similar side effects from taking Afinitor – ulcerations of his mouth and itchiness of his head, etc.
Realizing that his father was not going anywhere with his doctor, Ray’s son surfed the net and found CA Care. Ray decided not to take any more of his doctor’s medication and came to seek our help on 29 May 2009.
When Sutent failed, the oncologist suggested that Ray switched to another drug– everolimus (commercial name Afinitor). This drug was approved for use by the FDA on 30 March 2009. It has not been shown to cure any kidney cancer or even prolong survival. It was said to prolong progression-free survival by about 3 months (PFS survival with everolimus – 4.9 months versus 1.9 months with placebo). PFS means the length of time during and after treatment in which patient is living with a disease that does not get worse.
Medical literature reports effectiveness of Sutent and other drugs, in terms of tumour shrinkage, median survival, progression-free survival, etc. All these are evasive tactics to distract the real issue. What patients want is a cure, after paying for the drugs through their noses. Tumour shrinkage and all these confusing terminologies are meaningless to patients.