CoppaFeel! founder Kris Hallenga gives a reality check to those getting excited about new cancer treatment

The messages were, of course, well intentioned and I feel lucky I have people looking out for me all the time.

And I can’t deny I love hearing positive cancer news stories.

But sadly, it’s not as simple as me having the same treatment and to expect the same kind of outcome.

If you missed the news, the US woman has been totally cured of breast cancer after doctors tweaked her immune system, enabling it to destroy the tumours that had spread through her body.

Immunotherapy, which involves stimulating the body’s natural defences to fight cancer, is already being used to tackle certain cancers with some forms already available on the NHS.

However, the response rate to even the most successful treatments is relatively low, with one recently trialled therapy showing strong effects in only around 10 per cent of prostate cancer patients.

Previous clinical trials using immunotherapy to treat breast cancer have proved largely unsuccessful.

The trial undertaken by Dr Steven Rosenberg at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland is just that – a trial.

This is one case, and many variants need to be taken into account.

As we probably all know by now, cancer is a real slippery bugger and a treatment that works for one person, does not necessarily work for another.

Nevertheless doctors are finding these results exciting and one at the Ontario Insititute for Cancer Research went as far as to say that “we are now at the cusp of a major revolution” in cancer immunotherapy.

If I had a pound every time someone told me “new treatments are just around the corner” when I was first diagnosed, I’d be a millionaire.

I always felt it was unhelpful since my cancer was already so advanced, and if I maybe had many years to stick around I may just see these new developments.


REMIND to 70500.


I guess I should have believed all these people, as me sticking around for almost 10 years has meant I have benefitted from drugs that were merely in a test tube when I was first told I had cancer. That thought alone blows my mind.

Believe me, I am always hopeful that I will benefit from all the fancy new stuff so that I too get the magic “you are cured” words.

But I also like to remain realistic and deal with what is on offer to me right now, and what has in fact been around for many many years, such as some of the more holistic treatments I dabble with.

And then maybe, just maybe, I get to be one of the lucky cancer-free ones, too.

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