If only one could legislate logic and compassion, scuba!
This is why I do my own research and work with my Oncologist in a 'collaborating' fashion. I challenge everything they tell me (in my mind and then in polite conversation). I am doing a lot of cross referencing with other fields related to cell biology and immunology - solid as well as non-solid tumors (Leukemia's). It's been a very interesting education.
TKI's have been a life saver - but only because our immune systems have gotten out of whack relative to the cancer. It's either genetic or induced (environment/deficiency). We're told over and over that CML is not genetic (we're not pre-disposed to it). It's that supposed fact that led me to research everything about factors that induce a cancer (radiation being one of them) and what in our bodies prevents detection and control or eradication. A lot of my research is in regard to T-cells, spleen and lymphatic function and what they do and what we now know is needed for proper function.
We're exposed to "toxins" that are carcinogenic (cancer causing) everyday. Our bodies are remarkable in finding, catching and disposing cells gone bad due to these exposures. I believe - others disagree - that we can do things to augment our bodies natural ability to fight cancers - especially CML and that it is possible to put the Genie back in the bottle. Not for everyone unfortunately - but many of us.
So my approach has been to utilize the TKI to get CML under control and then switch off the drug (because of the dangers of these drugs) and test my bodies ability to handle it. So far so good. If CML comes back while in MMR/PCRU - all of the data suggest STRONGLY that I will regain remission easily. The evidence presented was sufficient for me to take the "risk". My risk tolerance is high.
I fear the drug more than I do CML, but that's just me. Others fear CML more and will never stop their TKI unless their doctor tells them to stop. But just look how over the years they (the medical community) change what they (the professionals) believe.
I do feel that the research Oncologists are ahead of the curve (Drs. Druker, Cortes, Talpaz, etc.) - and even they disagree with each other on the significance of the data. Dr. Druker told me, "if it works, great - keep doing it". Dr. Cortes told me the same thing and added that "low" maintenance doses may be ideal (Trey's belief), but if stopping works - then stopping is best (but only with vigilant monitoring).
TKI's are dangerous chemicals. They interfere with the body (that's why we have side effects - some severe). But they are a life saver at diagnosis. We need to tread carefully on their use. As experience accumulates, we will learn more about their toxic profile (especially impact on the heart and other organs). So far, Gleevec is looking quite good - but the newer drugs are proving to have some significant problems. I suspect this is why Dr. Cortes lowered my dose from the start (he never started me at full dose; but at 70mg - and then quickly dropped me to 20mg. and not just because of myelosuppression.). I asked him why such a low dose (back a few years ago) and he told me he has seen dramatic results on low dose while avoiding many of the heart/lung issues using Sprycel). Dose is probably the biggest issue and still unknown with these drugs.
I am thankful for TKI's. I am also thankful to be off of it. For now.
Diagnosed 11 May 2011 (100% FiSH, 155% PCR)
with b2a2 BCR-ABL fusion transcript coding for the 210kDa BCR-ABL protein
Sprycel: 20 mg per day - taken at lights out with Quercetin and/or Magnesium Taurate
6-8 grams Curcumin C3 complex.
2015 PCR: < 0.01% (M.D. Anderson scale)
2016 PCR: < 0.01% (M.D. Anderson scale)
March 2017 PCR: 0.01% (M.D. Anderson scale)
June 2017 PCR: "undetected"
September 2017 PCR: "undetected"