The War Against Cancer
This is the second part of a guest blog post written by Dave Dubin. Read the first part here.
Let’s see how far we’ve come… Since 2007, we have written, made appearances, and held events in order to bring awareness to what I have gone through with the goal of reaching a younger audience, including women. Every conference we’ve attended has talked about the under-fifty age group, whose numbers are increasing every year, as well as genetics and genetic testing, even genomics.Soccer is a worldwide game, with as many women participating as men, and it encompasses all ages and levels of ethnicity and socioeconomic background. We have had events with women’s and men’s professional soccer teams from the National Women’s Soccer League, Major League Soccer, North American Soccer League and college teams. My voice has been used to narrate videos and I’ve moderated a webinar about knowing your family history. Today, cancer is as much about finding the proverbial “needle in the haystack” as it is about curing and prevention. Immunotherapy is a big topic. If a group of individual family members all get a certain genetic mutation, and only two of the three siblings are affected by the disease, why does one remain unaffected? So if three siblings have Lynch, but only two develop cancer, why does the third remain unaffected? How can we look at the unaffected person and figure out why their body manages to “fix” itself. And if we can figure out why that unaffected person can do it, can we teach the affected patient to do the same. To do this type of analysis, we need data. Big data. It’s as much math as it is science. The ability to aggregate and share data about disease is going to be a difference-maker. This will need to include healthy people, people with no known genetic mutations, people with genetic mutations, and multiple cross-sections society. Maybe one treatment for breast cancer can be a cure for colon cancer? Or maybe a combination of therapies (a cocktail) can be a treatment? Can we take fruit flies, mice or other organisms and implant/grow cancer cells and try treatments on them to compare side by side with human treatments? 3D printing is literally taking on a life of its own. I joke that I want a new colon, and with technological advancements, it may not be too far into the future. Prosthetic limbs and more are being “printed” every day. Printable working organs? Why not. Wearable technology is also becoming more prevalent. The ability to know in real-time what is happening within your body is becoming reality. Lynch patients like me who have multiple annual checkups tend to lose track of time, and sometimes miss or delay checkups. Insurance companies can get involved with additional management of patient care to prevent, maintain, and if necessary, penalize patients for their activities. 3D and even 4D viewability of cells to analyze larger pieces of tissue will become more commonplace. Social media is going to be an even bigger part of healthcare. And of course, genetic testing has come a long way. Full panel testing for multiple screenings is becoming easier and less costly. MY children are now 19, 15, and 11. The oldest tested positive for Lynch, and already has had his first colonoscopy, which was clear. His CTs were also clear. He wrote about his Lynch experience in his college entrance essay. At this point, the other two will get their genetic testing done when they turn 18 as well. People ask me advice on testing their children as they get older. Should they do it as minors without consent? Or should they wait until past age 18 and take the chance that the legal adult will make a good decision? My high-risk oncologist tells me that every day that I’m still AliveAndKickn, is another day to beat this. I believe that knowledge and information are the best tools for dealing with Lynch Syndrome, colon cancer, and obviously a whole lot more.
I’m making a difference. My name is David Dubin, and I am AliveAndKickn!
This is Part 2 of Dave Dubin’s story. You can have a look at the first part here.