Week 42 - Holidays in Mallorca and medical tourism in Frankfurt

Written by Lars Haakon Soraas

week 42 1Week 42 in the war on cancer. We have been on Mallorca and in Frankfurt. Here are the highlights:

Dyanne has been in very good shape and we enjoyed our last days on Mallorca together with Dyanne’s parents.

-We then went to Frankfurt where the plan was to get the first injection of the personalized peptide vaccine. However, just before we went to Frankfurt, we got a PET/CT scan scheduled on Thursday this coming week. After discussing with our doctors, we concluded it is best to do the PET/CT scan first and then, assuming scan is fine, start the vaccine. If all goes to plan, we will then be back in Frankfurt in the week starting with the 20th June.

-Our trip to Germany was not a complete waste. We got to meet the doctor at Krankenhaus Nordwest who will do the peptide vaccine injections. And we met one of her associates. We have met several great doctors in our journey so far, and we do belive that the doctors in Frankfurt will live up to our very high expectations.

-I have come across a young, never-smoking, women, just over 40 years old, living outside of Oslo. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in early May this year. The Norwegian health care system then started her on chemotherapy and took one month to do a simple EGFR test. It turned out to be negative and they have not yet tested for ALK, another very common genetic alteration for which targeted drugs exist. I am very upset about this. First of all, it should not take a month to do a simple EGFR test. Secondly, much more comprehensive genomic testing than just EGFR should be done on any young person diagnosed with lung cancer. What Norway’s health care system here manages to perform here is just sub-standard. Think of the Singaporean or Brazilian team in the Winter Olympics. I guess it is just another consequence of what happens when a large health care organization sets off with the wrong goals: pleasing its own employees rather than saving the lives of patients.

Of course, when you see such a rotten system, you realize that there is also great room for improvement. And we believe improvement comes on the heel of awareness and advocacy. What the breast cancer “lobby” has achieved in this regard is a true inspiration. The hard and persistent work of many women with breast cancer has greatly helped improve treatment, early detection and research for the disease. This has, in turn, made huge dents in breast cancer mortality rates. We need to follow their foot-steps and do the same for lung cancer.

On that note, have a good Sunday!

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